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Posts Tagged ‘RJ Benner’

The Whidbey News-Times currently shares a building with Garage of Blessings, a free thrift store.

Whidbey Island’s newspapers are in the market for a new boss.

RJ Benner, who was the Group Publisher and Sales Director with the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record, didn’t make it to his one-year anniversary.

Instead, he’s now the Publisher and Advertising Director for the Aiken Standard in South Carolina, a position he started Sept. 12.

Benner replaced Keven R. Graves Sept. 13, 2021, after Sound Publishing, under the ownership of Canada’s Black Press, parted ways with the longtime Whidbey-based journalist.

Graves worked at the News-Times from 1986-1994, left to launch the rival Coupeville Examiner, then moved to Yelm in 1999 to run the Nisqually Valley News.

He returned to Whidbey in 2013, as Publisher and Executive Editor for Whidbey’s papers.

A former President of the Washington Newspapers Publishers Association, Graves led his staffs to an often-staggering number of awards, while also being one of my journalistic mentors.

His successor, who came from the sales and advertising side of the biz, worked in Arkansas and Oregon before briefly fronting Whidbey’s papers.

Benner’s run is among the shortest of any Publisher at the WNT, where familiar names such as Wallie Funk, Craig Dennis, or Marcia Smith appeared in the masthead for years.

Sound Publishing is notorious for scrubbing bylines off of online stories written by former employees.

Still, a search Wednesday night for RJ Benner on the News-Times web site still reveals five publisher columns and a shout-out to the food at the Braeburn.

Only one of the six articles is from 2022.

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