Mutating Mastheads at Yesse!

Changes at the Top in Iowa City and Dayton.

Yesse! mastheads are mutating so quickly, Mutating Mastheads can’t keep up.

First, there have been a bunch of recent changes at Iowa City’s Icon. At the end of November, Icon’s Publisher and Editor, Aaron Wolfe, left the paper he co-founded with Steve Clem in 1993. When Wolfe left, Brendan Wolfe, the paper’s former Managing Editor, became Icon’s Editor, and former Classified Ad Manager Kelly Pardekooper stepped up to become General Manager.

Brendan explains that Pardekooper’s duties are basically that of publisher. However, unlike the former publisher/editorial relationship at Icon, Pardekooper will not have veto power over editorial. “Editorial is independent from the General Manager,” says Brendan.

Kristi Wellenstein has replaced Pardekooper as Classified Ad Manager. Former News Editor Julie Mickens quit and was replaced by Jean Wiedenheft. And last but not least, a new Production Manager came on board: Elizabeth Oxler replaced the outgoing Scott Andresen.

“It’s a pretty big transition when the co-founder and editor of the paper leaves,” says Brendan of the Wolfe to whom he is not related. “I wouldn’t say the amount of people leaving is directly attributable to Aaron leaving, but it’s all part of the transition.”

Brendan contends that turnover is expected at a small paper like Icon, since small papers have a difficult time competing in terms of salary and benefits. But the lone Wolfe isn’t bitter about natural attrition: “If someone comes in here for a year and is really ambitious and works their ass off and moves on, we still benefit from that.”

Since the masthead has stabilized, Brendan is confident the new hires and promotions will bring Icon through the next era. “We think we’ve got it,” he concludes.

And at another Yesse! paper, Impact Weekly (nee Dayton Voice), former Ad Director Daniel Emerich finds himself in a new position: boss. Emerich stepped up to the plate as Publisher when co-Publishers Jeff Epton and Marrianne McMullen moved to Chicago so that McMullen could begin a new position doing public relations for a labor union in Illinois.

“They weren’t really planning on leaving at all in the near future,” says Emerich of the couple’s move to Epton’s hometown of Chicago. “But [the job] was so good and so perfect, they decided to do it. It was like a dream come true for them. It’s perfect for Marrianne.”

Speaking about the couple’s end-of-the-year departure, Emerich says, “It was actually very nice because we had a month and a half to transition, so it has been very smooth.” Kristen Wicker, the paper’s former top staff writer, has taken over McMullen’s position as Editor. Because the new leaders came from within, says Emerich, there weren’t any glitches in the hierarchical rollover. “This was nice and pleasant.”

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