Roger Tollefson named publisher of Star-Herald, Gering Courier and Hemingford Ledger

December 19, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF – Roger Tollefson, a 37-year veteran of the newspaper industry, has been named as the new publisher for the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Gering Courier and Hemingford Ledger.

Tollefson has held the positions of general manager, circulation director and director of operations since joining the Star-Herald in 1991. Some of his other career stops have taken him to South Dakota, California and Utah.

“I started delivering papers when I was 9 years old and all through high school,” he said. “I come from a small town in South Dakota and the newspaper had a print shop, so I used to watch them print the paper.”

His many years as a newspaper carrier turned out to be the spark that got him into the business as a career.

“The newspaper’s circulation manager asked me to come to work for him because I had done a good job delivering papers for them,” Tollefson said. “He wanted me to be a supervisor over all the paper carriers. So my first official job was the district manager for circulation.”

The editor later left for a job with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a Gannett newspaper. Tollefson came along and was part of the 1984 launch of their new product – USA Today.

His former company, Thomson Newspapers, recruited him to come back as a department head for a new paper they purchased in St. George, Utah. And from there, it was on to some of their other newspapers in California.

“My kids were about the age to be entering school,” Tollefson said. “I wanted to get back to the Midwest where I’m from. I wanted a place where my kids could stay and go from kindergarten through senior year in the same school.”

Tollefson got that opportunity in 1991 when he was offered a position as circulation director with the Star-Herald. His kids got to spend their school years in Gering.

Following a promotion to operations manager, Tollefson became the general manager for the Star-Herald in 2000.

“General manager was my main title but I was working in all fields of the paper’s operation,” he said.

Along the way, he’s received the National Award of Excellence for Community Affairs and Multimedia Events from the Newspaper Association of America. He also served on the association’s Update Magazine committee.

“Roger’s well-rounded newspaper career has prepared him for the leadership role of the Star-Herald,” said Shon Barenklau, vice president of the BH Media Midwest Group. “I’m confident he’s the right fit to lead the Scottsbluff Group and for the western Nebraska communities that we serve.”

Star-Herald Editor Brad Staman agreed, saying Tollefson has a great reputation in the community and will be a strong leader moving forward.

Outside the newspaper offices, Tollefson has been a foster parent, a volunteer coach, umpire and official for baseball, softball, football, volleyball, wrestling and basketball.

He’s also a current member of the Gering Tennis Club, an active runner and is involved in the Nebraska Senior Games.

“I like serving the public and being counted on as a worthy news source,” Tollefson said. “I want the newspaper to be the place to go if you need to know something.”

He pointed out the Star-Herald has more than a million print and online readers every month and he’s proud to be a part of that as the paper provides not just a print edition, but also more digital products as the public demands them.

“The Star-Herald isn’t going anywhere,” he said. “We’re going everywhere.”

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