Despite it being Randell Beck's final days as the publisher at the Argus Leader, he has much to smile about.
"It was my life ambition to be a newspaper man. I've never had an uncertainty about that. And, I got to do what I always dreamed of doing, said Beck. How much better does that get?"
In the past three decades, Beck has seen the industry he loves evolve.
"I came to work at a newspaper. That's what we were," he said.
Now, it's a multimedia company.
"Today, I don't care what age you are. You want news and information and you want it now."
That transformation certainly hasn't been easy. Gannett, which owns the Argus and 81 other daily newspapers, has had its share of layoffs, furloughs, and freezes.
"I think I'd be lying if I didn't say that there have been in the past anxious times," Beck said.
He says Argus Media is much more nimble now, constantly gauging what the readers want - be it news and information on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.
"The digital world has taught us we can't be that complacent. And, that readers expect not to just be right and thorough, but also first," he said.
When that's achieved, Beck says he and his 180 employees are constantly reminded how important their jobs are.
"The response we get is just breathtaking. People sit up and take notice and say, 'We're glad you did that story. That so changed our lives and made our community better'."
Clearly, this Kansas native has embraced the plains of South Dakota.
"People here care about each other and they need local media and they recognize that to keep them connected."
Connection is a word Beck lives by. You can see it in how he interacts. You could hear it from the folks who asked him to stay.
Randell Beck took his job as Argus Media publisher very seriously.
"I wanted to be the person who was making the tough decisions getting us from point A to point Z," said Beck. "It was a very difficult ride those past five years. But, I would have rather done that than anyone else I know."
On the cusp of 60, Beck now has a desire to do something different. He'll take six months to determine what's next.
"I've started to think I might actually have a skill or two that could be used for something else," said Beck.
While he doesn't know what his or the Argus' future holds, he does know that people still care about content. It's simply more customized and intimate than it used to be.
"I feel like I'm walking out at a good time," said Beck. "I feel like I'm leaving when I'm on top and more importantly when the Argus Leader is on top."
Tuesday, December 3 2013 10:48 PM EST2013-12-04 03:48:06 GMT
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Friday, December 6 2013 5:52 PM EST2013-12-06 22:52:25 GMT
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South Dakota's governor requests flags be displayed at half-staff Friday through Monday at sunset. President Obama called for flags to be flown half-staff nationally to honor the life of Nelson Mandela.More >>
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