Richfield Reaper names new publisher
Sevier County native Charles G. Hawley is the new publisher of The Richfield Reaper. The announcement was made last week by William Brehm Jr., president of the Brehm Communications, Inc. family of community newspapers, which has owned The Reaper since 1990.
"Chuck has been a valuable part of The Reaper team for 30 years," Brehm said. "His being named publisher is a natural transition for the newspaper and the communities it serves."
With the announcement of the new publisher, The Richfield Reaper officially shifts its head position to someone outside of the Fuellenbach family for the first time in more than 75 years. Hawley, 54, has been serving as the interim publisher since the death of Mark Fuellenbach in April. Fuellenbach passed away in Price while he was attending a business meeting with company executives and the Sun Advocate's local management. "It's an honor to be selected," Hawley said. "Being the first publisher of The Reaper since 1934 who is not a member of the Fuellenbach family is humbling."
Brehm addressed concerns some have expressed about both The Reaper and newspapers in general.
"In the national media, news has been very bad for the larger city metro and publicly held newspaper companies," Brehm said. "In the public's eye, smaller community newspapers have tended to be lumped in with them and there has been some concern expressed for The Reaper.
"Yes, The Reaper and other papers in the Brehm Communications newspaper group have been hurt by the recession and changes in the marketplace, but not to the extent of the large city papers. Our company is better able to adjust and weather the poor times," Brehm said.
He said The Reaper focuses on local news and advertising, and isn't competing with the metro or regional dailies.
"The Reaper Web site and the printed newspaper are powerful tools that complement each other and will continue to be the dominant source of news and advertising for many years to come," Brehm said.
During the past three decades, Hawley has moved from being a salesman, to advertising manager to general manager of The Reaper. Born and reared in Richfield, Hawley graduated from Richfield High School in 1973, and went on to serve a mission to Australia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hawley started his newspaper career as the advertising manager of The Wasatch Wave, The Payson Chronicle, The Summit County Bee and The Morgan County News. He then came home to Sevier County to work for The Reaper, eventually earning the Jim Cornwell Distinguished Service Award in 2001, presented by the Utah Press Association for his "numerous innovative contributions to the art and science of newspaper advertising."
In addition to the time he has spent in the newspaper industry, Hawley has also been involved with local and regional civic organizations. He has served as president of the Richfield Area Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Central Valley Planning and Land Use Commission, the Richfield Lights Parade, is a member of the Utah Resource Advisory Council, and served on the sub-RAC for Factory Butte. The RAC, whose members are selected by the secretary of the interior, serves as an advisory board for the Bureau of Land Management on land use issues.
Joseph J. Fuellenbach purchased The Reaper, which has been serving the area since 1888, in March 1934. He died in December of that same year, and his wife, Rula, took the reins of the business and ran it until her passing in 1959.
At that point, Norman J. Fuellenbach, Rula's son, took over as publisher of the paper. It was while Norm was running the paper that The Reaper's longest continually employed family member started at the paper-Marge Fuellenbach, Norm's wife and Mark's mother, who still comes in to work each week. Norm also wrote "The Rat Race", a humorous and sometimes controversial column that became a signature piece for the paper.
Rula and Norm were both inducted into the Utah Newspaper Hall of Fame for their years of service and leadership in Utah's newspaper business.
Norm ran the paper until his passing in 1977, at which point Mark took over The Reaper. Mark sold the paper in 1990 to Brehm Communications, Inc., and remained the publisher until his passing in April.
"Chuck Hawley is the right person to follow in the footsteps of the Fuellenbach family at The Reaper. He has been a good partner for the community and the paper," said William J. Brehm Sr., chairman of BCI. "We are proud of Chuck and the good work that he is doing for the newspaper and the readers it serves."