Editor: “Show me a contented newspaper editor and I will show you a bad newspaper.” Arthur Christiansen, British journalist
When I learned that the owner of the Clark County Courier was going to retire, I immediately thought, oh my gosh, who’s going to carry on?
Bill Krikac has owned and published the Courier for going on 25 years. Early this year, when I learned of his decision, I was saddened by it and told him so. It would be the end of an era in Clark and recognized as such by the community.
The timing brought back a flood of memories for me because shortly before Bill bought the Courier, I had found a way back to South Dakota as editor of The Daily Republic in Mitchell. I had been working for the Cincinnati Post and despite the Buckeye State’s attributes, I was homesick for South Dakota and so was my family.
For Bill, the decision to buy the Courier was a good one. Though the community has faced economic challenges, it remains solid, as has the Courier.
“Bill cares so much about his community and his readers,” said Dave Bordewyk, executive director of the S.D. Newspaper Association. “And his devotion to Clark shows each week in the newspaper he publishes. Anytime I have a conversation with Bill, invariably it comes around to Bill telling me what’s going on in Clark County, how the local teams are doing and his concerns that he is getting it all covered properly in his newspaper. I see his newspaper and I know he is getting the job done well.”
Bill wasn’t just involved in his community. He was one of only two persons to serve twice as president of the SDNA in its 137-year history. And, as a teacher for 19 years before purchasing the Courier, he retained a keen interest in education and other issues important to the state, which helped him publish a quality newspaper week in and week out.
“It’s been a good life,” Bill, 67, told me this week.
Is there life after newspapering? I assured Bill there was. And though he hasn’t sold the Courier yet, he’s confident that it will happen.
This is National Newspaper Week, and the role of weekly newspapers remains as critical as ever to the health of smaller-town South Dakota.
I have on my wall the famous Norman Rockwell print of the country newspaper editor. It embodies Bill and countless others across America. Sometimes I have wondered if those in our small towns fully appreciate the Bill Krikacs of the state. In reflecting on what Bill has done in Clark, the answer is undoubtedly “yes.”
Oct. 9, 2019