EVERETT — The Daily Herald is getting a new publisher.
But the current one won’t be far away.
Rudi Alcott, who oversees Sound Publishing’s King County Newspaper Group and is the company’s vice president of advertising, will become publisher of The Daily Herald on Sept. 7. He will be the 10th publisher in the paper’s 120-year history.
Alcott will succeed Josh O’Connor, the publisher since May 2013 and president of Sound Publishing since 2018. The demands of guiding the 350-employee company reached the point where he said he felt he was no longer able to devote the time required of the Herald publisher’s post.
“It has been a personal and professional privilege to be part of the Everett Herald,” said O’Connor, who intends to keep his office in Everett and stay involved with community organizations. “I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished and the overall direction of the business.”
Alcott is in charge of the day-to-day operations of 14 digital and print products. With Sound, he’s made his mark in digital sales and was the company’s first director of digital revenue. This will be his first time guiding a daily newspaper.
“I look at The Herald as the signature flagship of Sound Publishing papers,” he said. “I am looking forward to this challenge and to be part of the great team up there and to continue the great work.”
At The Herald, Alcott will focus on bolstering audience development and expediting the newspaper’s digital transformation. But a printed paper will continue to be published seven days a week for the foreseeable future, he said.
He wants to develop an “all-in-one” strategy aimed at reaching readers where they prefer getting their news, be it in print or on their phone, laptop or other device.
“I don’t care where people get their information. I just care that they get it from us,” he said. “We developed a road map under Josh. I want to build on that road map.”
Alcott lives in Covington with his wife and three dogs — though the five of them anticipate a future resettling in Snohomish County. Their grown son and daughter work in aerospace and education, respectively, in Washington.
Alcott, 53, was born in Compton, California. He grew up mostly in Indiana, with a spell in Colorado. He started his professional career in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as a sales manager in charge of house accounts for Ellison Bakery, then the makers of Archway Cookies. The parent company was Darlington Farms.
After moving to Washington in 1997, he entered the newspaper industry. He spent a decade with Horvitz Newspapers, guiding circulation development, then a short stint for Swift Communications in Greeley, Colorado, as the assistant circulation director. He returned to Washington and joined Sound as publisher of the Federal Way Mirror, later taking on the same role for the Enumclaw Courier-Herald.
In Federal Way, city leaders awarded him a Key to the City in recognition of his civic service and as the Mirror’s longest-tenured publisher.
He was named Sound Publishing’s vice president of advertising in February 2020.
Not soon after, COVID-19 arrived in full force. When the retail sector shut down, revenue evaporated for Sound Publishing. To weather the turbulence, there were layoffs and furloughs of employees and suspension of some publications.
In recent months, an improving economy is helping Sound, and The Herald, regain financial footing. At The Herald, community-funded initiatives for investigative and environmental reporting are enabling delivery of in-depth, issue-oriented coverage sought by readers.
“We are experiencing the most transformative period in our history — growing and delivering award-winning journalism in innovative ways,” O’Connor said. “I am excited to hand the baton to Rudi, who possesses the skills the business needs today.”
Sound Publishing produces dozens of print and digital products in Washington and Alaska. They include community weeklies, dailies (including The Daily Herald) and bi-weeklies in Snohomish, Island, San Juan, King, Kitsap, Grays Harbor and Okanogan counties and on the Olympic Peninsula.
Jerry Cornfield: email@example.com; 360-352-8623; @dospueblos