GRAND ISLAND — Terrie Baker, general manager of the Grand Island Independent, has been named publisher.
She succeeds Don Smith, publisher of the Independent since 2003, who announced his retirement this week.
“I am excited to take on the position of publisher for the Grand Island Independent,” Baker said. “With having 29 years of publisher experience and two years as general manager at the Independent, I feel I am able to take on this challenge.”
Baker joined the Independent in 2017 after serving as publisher of the North Platte Telegraph since 2015. As general manager, she oversaw the Independent’s advertising and financial departments and worked closely with Smith. She will continue to manage the paper’s advertising department, along with her duties as the publisher. Baker starts her new position on Monday.
“Grand Island is a wonderful community, and I am very blessed to have been given the opportunity to become publisher and work with the strong team that the Independent already has,” Baker said.
Smith praised his successor, saying that Grand Island is “fortunate to have Terrie Baker as the new publisher of the Independent.”
“Terrie is an accomplished, highly regarded newspaper publisher,” Smith said. “Terrie and I have been colleagues and friends for a long time, and we share many of the same values when it comes to community journalism and community involvement. After two years as general manager at the Independent, she will make the transition seamless.”
Baker’s appointment was announced Friday afternoon by Shon Barenklau, vice president of the Midwest Division of BH Media Group. Baker has worked for BH Media for more than 18 years.
“I’m excited to see where Terrie leads the Independent as we expand our business into all things digital,” said Barenklau. “Terrie’s experience will provide a solid foundation for continuing growth in Grand Island.”
Before going to North Platte, Baker was the publisher of the Lexington Clipper-Herald for 13 years. She began her journalism career in 1979 at the Clinton Daily Journal in Illinois, where she worked for more than 22 years before taking the job in Lexington. At Clinton, she was general manager for eight years and publisher for 12 years.
She started at the Clinton newspaper as a retail advertising representative.
“Over time I grew into an advertising director, then general manager and, finally, publisher,” Baker said. “Being a publisher is where I found that I thrive. I am extremely goal motivated, and like to drive competition in a growing industry.”
At the Independent, she collaborated with the advertising/digital departments to ensure that the Independent was meeting daily and monthly projections and forecasts, while maintaining project quality with her hands-on management style.
Along with her job as Independent general manager, she also served as regional revenue officer for BH Media’s Midwest Group, where she coordinated with other BH Media Midwest publishers, advertising and digital managers.
Earlier this year, Baker was elected president of the Nebraska Press Association.
With 40 years of newspaper experience, Baker is guided by the principles of community journalism.
“My belief for a community newspaper is to be the eyes and ears for the people,” she said. “I will continue the tradition of the Grand Island Independent being a strong supporter of Grand Island and the surrounding communities.”
During her career, Baker has been active in the communities where she served. She has been a volunteer in such positions as the chamber of commerce board of directors, chamber board president, United Way, Salvation Army, Parent-Child Center and the Nebraska Press Association.
“My dad, Richard Smith, has always been my biggest supporter and critic,” Baker said. “He has pushed me to be my best and do what is right for the community I serve.”
Baker and her husband, Bryan, have a daughter, Allie. Allie and her husband, Scott Mulligan, have two children: Maddie, who is seven, and Baker, who is two. They live in Cozad.
As Independent publisher, she said readers and the community could expect, “Accurate, ethical and timely news delivered to you.”
Baker said when she took the position of general manager at the Independent she found Grand Island was a progressive, growing community and a very welcoming one, also.
“The Grand Island citizens have been very welcoming, and I look forward to being more involved and being a part of this growing community,” Baker said.