For 28 years, Donna Bernhardt has tirelessly served this company, this community and, in particular, you the readers and advertisers of this newspaper.
Working at any community newspaper is an all-consuming task. Running not just one but three highly regarded, award-winning papers is a job for only the strongest and most dedicated.
It means working late into the evening and on weekends. Nights are often spent in sleepless contemplation, worrying not just about important community issues but also about how to learn what readers need to know and then how to motivate them to contribute meaningfully to solutions.
Throughout her years with Hoch Publishing Co., Donna has been a rock of loyalty and devotion. Two years ago, after more than a quarter of a century of service, she planned to leave — only to agree, out of a sense of loyalty, after Bill Meyer’s death to delay her plans for a new career and provide leadership to the company needed in his absence.
Her loyalty and dedication to this company, this newspaper, its owners, and the communities it serves cannot be overstated.
It thus is with deep regret that we announce that Donna believes she has given all she can and plans to step down as editor and publisher as soon as replacement personnel can be recruited and brought up to speed.
We wish Donna the very best and most sincerely thank her for her years of steadfast service. At the same time, we are happy to report that the newspapers she has served will continue to be in excellent hands after her departure.
Longtime reporter Susan Berg, who before joining Hoch Publishing served as director of economic development for the City of Marion and before that as a reporter another highly regarded newspaper in Kansas, will be assuming overall responsibility as managing editor.
In coming weeks, you will be hearing more from Susan as she lays out her plans for making all three Marion County newspapers even better. She also will be introducing some new employees.
This week, however, is for paying tribute to Donna. Even though she will be remaining on the job for several more weeks, we want to take this opportunity to honor and thank her for her service — as an employee, as a manager, and as a family friend.
She will be missed by all of us.
— eric meyer
president, hoch publishing co.