Missouri Press leadership is drawn from newspapers across the state, representing the interests of all the Association’s members and helping guide the organization into the future. Joining the MPA Board of Directors for 2022 are Bryan Chester, Columbia Missourian; Tim Schmidt, Montgomery Standard; Marion Jordon, The Kansas City Globe; and Lucas Presson, Southeast Missourian.
Directors are elected each year during the business meeting held as part of the Association’s annual convention and trade show. Nominations to serve on the board are accepted until July 1 and are then reviewed by a nominating committee for consideration by the entire MPA membership.
Tim Schmidt has more than 20 years in the newspaper business, including the last five as publisher of Westplex Media, which operates the Montgomery Standard, Warren County Record, Mexico Ledger and Moberly Monitor-Index.
Schmidt has deep roots in northeast Missouri, graduating from Culver-Stockton College in Canton with a degree in communications-journalism emphasis. He started his newspaper career with the Suburban Journals in Warrenton and Wentzville from 2002-04, then became sports editor and eventually managing editor for the Warren County Record. He also has experience as general manager of the Louisiana Press-Journal and spent a year as publisher of the Lincoln County Journal, Troy Free Press and Newstime.
Even before deciding what to study at college, Schmidt said he would read the sports section of the Quincy, Ill. Herald-Whig every day after school.
“I was a three-sport athlete in high school,” Schmidt said. “I would scour through the box scores and knew nearly every player on every MLB team. Like many kids, I dreamed of playing Major League Baseball. Since I didn’t throw 90 miles per hour, I had to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Covering sporting events and writing about them was a way to stay connected to the game.”
More than just being connected to the sports he loves, working for newspapers has allowed Schmidt to meet and interact with lots of great people from different walks of life.
“Every day, every week is a little different than next,” he said. “I love covering the triumphs and victories, but publishing news that your community needs to know is also rewarding.”
Publishing important information is rewarding but it can only be done if the lights are on and the presses kept printing. Turning online engagement into paid subscriptions will be critical to the future of newspapers, Schmidt said.
“We must continue to evolve with the times and be open to new ideas. The industry has changed a lot in my 20 years, and it’s going to change a lot more over the next 20 years,” he said. “We do a good job with social media engagement and driving visitors to our website, but how do we turn them into paid subscribers?”
That question is part of the reason Schmidt said he wanted to be involved with the Missouri Press Association Board of Directors. With more smaller newspapers in Missouri than large ones and being a publisher of four of those small newspapers, he wants to make sure they are represented and have a voice.
“This is a way to give back and make sure our industry remains relevant for many years to come. I look at it the same as volunteering for a community group, you can’t stay on the sidelines the entire time,” he said. “I hope to learn from other newspaper publishers and hope I can provide them with ideas, as well. We’re only stronger as a group.”
An overall stronger industry will also be better suited to address another issue, Schmidt said. “Making sure we have quality candidates to hire in the future is a big concern of mine.”
And you should know, as a newspaper publisher Schmidt is used to seeing both sides of an issue, but it’s not the only time he has employed that skill.
“During college, I made extra money umpiring baseball and refereeing basketball games. I have done some baseball umpiring in recent years, but now spend free time coaching my son’s baseball team and watching my daughter play softball,” Schmidt said. “I hope to resume umpiring in the future once they are grown.”