Craig Rogers named publisher of The Southern

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CARBONDALE — Craig Rogers is the new publisher of The Southern Illinoisan.

On Wednesday, Rogers, 52, was named to the post by Lee Enterprises. He succeeds John Pfeifer, who was publisher and editor of the newspaper. Pfeifer has left the company.

Rogers has a 20-year publishing career with stops at The Indianapolis Star as business development director, The Peoria Journal Star as director of advertising, and The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.

He was most recently named the publisher of the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier in Mattoon in November 2014. He will still be publisher in Mattoon in addition to being publisher at The Southern.

Before the newspaper business, Rogers said he grew up in Northbrook, a northern Chicago suburb. He received a sports marketing degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He worked for 10 years in the sporting goods industry in marketing capacities.

His wife, Diana, and two children will be moving to the region. 

"I’m excited to move to Southern Illinois knowing the region offers the type of lifestyle my family enjoys," Rogers said. 

Rogers has clear goals for The Southern, saying he wants to increase the newspaper’s audience engagement, and continue to grow the audience through several digital channels.

“Our goal moving forward is to continuing engaging the community and remain an indispensable source of local news and information,” he said.

He knows that newspapers have to use technology and the internet as part of disseminating the news and information to as big of an audience as possible.

“That is where young adults get their news and information,” he said. “It is very much a generational divide — looking at print versus digital. Digital is very important because young adults still have a need for local news and information and we have to deliver it through digital channels.”

The other goal, Rogers said, is to engage the business community and advertisers.

“We still have the largest single audience that can be purchased with an ad buy,” he said. “We have the most highly engaged audience, which makes us the most effective advertising medium.”

As for the level of journalism coming from the newsroom, he expects to continue a trend of improving and being regional newspaper.

“I expect that we will facilitate the conversations that need to be had within the community,” Rogers said. “Not just reporting the news or what happens at a city council meeting, but informing our readers of what it means to them."

Rogers said current City Editor Tom English will serve as interim editor of the newsroom. He said there will be a search conducted, but there isn’t a timeline for when the role will be filled.

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