John M. Humenik, president and publisher of the Arizona Daily Star, has been named publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.
Humenik, 50, will be group publisher for the State Journal and the Star, both of which are owned by Lee Enterprises. Humenik will also become a member of Lee’s executive team, overseeing 50 daily print and digital publications that span 22 states.
Bobbie Jo Buel, editor of the Arizona Daily Star, will be interim publisher in Tucson during the search for a successor.
Humenik said he spent most of Tuesday getting to know the staff of the Wisconsin State Journal and reflecting on his years in Tucson.
The warmth of the people here and the sense of connection with readers are what he said he’ll miss most.
“The people of Tucson really have embraced the Daily Star, and they embraced me,” he said. “That’s been truly rewarding, being able to participate in so many different ways in our community.”
Humenik became president and publisher in Tucson in 2010 after five years as publisher and editor. Under his direction, the Star recently received Lee’s highest honor, Enterprise of the Year. The newspaper also received 2013 Lee President’s Awards for both news and innovation, as well as several industry honors.
“With John’s leadership, the Arizona Daily Star has delivered outstanding results in every aspect of our business, from magnificent journalism and service to the community to powerful results for advertisers, leading to rapid audience growth and impressive financial performance,” said Lee Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Mowbray, who announced the promotion. “In expanding John’s responsibilities to another of our largest markets, we look forward to an even greater sharing of successes between two of our strongest management teams.”
At age 12, Humenik started out delivering newspapers in Tinley Park, Ill., and became a reporter at age 15, covering sports in the Chicago suburbs. He attended Eastern Illinois University on a journalism scholarship and became sports editor of the Daily Eastern News there.
He spent five years as presentation and graphics editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer and eight years at The Times of Northwest Indiana. Before moving to Tucson in 2005, he was editor for seven years at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa.
Humenik is deeply involved in Tucson. He is co-founder and chairman of the Tucson Festival of Books, the nation’s fourth-largest literary festival with more than 120,000 participants annually. He’ll remain chairman of the 2014 event, which he said has been embraced by the people of Tucson.
He is on the boards of the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Downtown Tucson Partnership, the Pima Library Foundation and the Arizona Newspapers Association. He is also a member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Graduate Club of Tucson, and acted as a community squadron commander at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
The Arizona Daily Star has bright days ahead, he said.
“Change is always difficult, but staying connected to Tucson and the Star means the great work we have done will continue, and I’ll be involved,” Humenik said. “I’m excited about what has been accomplished and what will be accomplished.”