PRINCETON — During his 34 years with Shaw Media, Sam Fisher has been a champion of newspapers and a proponent for the public's right to know.
Now, Fisher will do that work on behalf of newspapers statewide and nationally.
The Illinois Press Association on Wednesday announced that Fisher has been selected as the new president and chief executive officer for the IPA, Illinois Press Foundation and National Newspaper Association. The IPA represents more than 450 daily and weekly newspapers, including the Bureau County Republican. The NNA has 2,200 members.
Fisher, who has been publisher of the Bureau County Republican, Putnam County Record and Tonica News since 1993, will join the IPA on Oct. 25. Fisher also was publisher of Sauk Valley Media from 2014 to earlier this year.
"It was a difficult decision to leave a great company like Shaw Media, which I've called home for so long," Fisher said. "In the final analysis, I felt that this position was a good fit for me professionally; and I felt, given my newspaper experience, coupled with my knowledge of the association and Illinois newspapers, that I was also a good fit for the IPA."
Fisher is the immediate past chair of the IPA board of directors. He succeeds Dennis DeRossett, who resigned his position in mid-May. IPA legal counsel Don Craven will continue to serve as the IPA's interim president and CEO until Fisher's official start.
Shaw Media President and CEO John Rung lauded the work Fisher has done for the company's newspapers and their readers.
"Sam had a tremendous career with us, and we are very grateful for his service," Rung said. "We are sorry he is leaving, but as a member of IPA we will benefit from his tremendous leadership at an organization that is so important to the future of local journalism across the state. We're proud of him, and look forward to continuing our relationship with him in his new role."
Fisher was selected after an extensive search process that spanned 4 months and included publishers from across the state and representatives from the IPA, IPF and NNA boards of directors.
"I'm excited about this opportunity, as the IPA is such a great organization with such a talented staff," Fisher said. "I've always felt the role of the IPA is critical to the continued success of Illinois newspapers, and that's why I have been in involved in the organization for so many years."
Fisher and Lori Frick live in Princeton. He has two daughters, Meg, 17, of Princeton and Brooke (Tim) Miller of Woodstock, Ga.; and a son, Ben, of Princeton. He also has two grandsons. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, joining Shaw Media in 1983 and holding various management positions at the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake and at the Kane County Chronicle before joining the Bureau County Republican.