Freedom Communications on Tuesday named Dan Steever as president and publisher of The Gazette in Colorado Springs.
Steever succeeds Gene Carr, who has served as interim publisher since April. Carr’s last day at The Gazette is Friday; he’s returning to his media consulting business in Dallas and this fall will become chairman of the Local Media Foundation, a nonprofit newspaper industry group where he has served as vice chairman.
Steever’s appointment was announced by Aaron Kushner, Freedom Communications’ CEO and publisher of The Orange County Register. Kushner also heads 2100 Trust LLC, an investment group that completed its purchase of Freedom in July. That purchase included The Gazette, The Register and five smaller daily papers in California and Arizona.
“I am thrilled to have Dan join our team to lead The Gazette,” Kushner said. “Dan is passionate about strengthening The Gazette and is uniquely qualified to lead our talented staff as we work to increase the value we provide to subscribers and our community.”
Kushner also thanked Carr for his time at The Gazette. “He was instrumental in ensuring The Gazette remains an important, informative and entertaining destination for the entire community,” Kushner said.
For the last 3 1/2 years, Steever served as CEO of PromoWorks LLC, a nationwide marketing services firm based in suburban Chicago that works with retailers and other clients to measure consumer interests through in-store sampling, grand openings and several other programs.
Before PromoWorks, Steever served as president of Marian Heath Greeting Cards from April 2002 to May 2008; he worked alongside Kushner to develop a distribution strategy and sales model that became an industry benchmark and resulted in revenue tripling during his tenure.
For several years, Steever also held several management positions for ADVO Inc., an advertising insert business. He worked in the Rocky Mountain region during part of his time at ADVO.
Steever described himself as having a passion for newspapers and advertising — from the time he was a newspaper carrier as a boy in Pennsylvania to his work competing against newspapers for advertising dollars while with ADVO.
“Newspapers have a fundamental purpose in a community, they are truly part of the fabric of a community,” he said. “But from a business perspective, and from a mission perspective, many have lost their way. They’ve gotten caught up with the financial aspect of newspapers and forgot about the purpose of living, for being there.
“If we can get back to the core premise of being a community resource for everyone in the community, the business will take care of itself,” he said. “But we’ve got to get back to providing information, connectivity for our readers and subscribers. If we can do that, we will grow the business back again. That challenge was very appealing to me.”
Asked about newspaper industry trends that have emphasized digital platforms over print, Steever echoed Kushner’s philosophy of being bullish on newspapers.
“We believe in the newspaper business, with a subscriber-first model and really doing it right,” Steever said.
Steever said he doesn’t plan any immediate changes at The Gazette, other than to pursue Kushner’s vision of strengthening the paper for subscribers. That’s expected to include filling some open positions in The Gazette newsroom and other departments.
Steever said he plans to be an active part of the community, whether it’s meeting with business and civic leaders, members of the military or neighborhoods.
Steever, 53, a Boston-area resident, said he’s looking to move to Colorado Springs over the new few months. He and his wife, Cathy, have four grown children.