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Daily Inter Lake publisher Rick Weaver announces retirement

by Daily Inter Lake
| January 5, 2023 12:05 AM

Rick Weaver, the longtime regional publisher at Hagadone Media Montana, will retire at the end of January.

In his role, Weaver oversees eight newspapers serving Northwest Montana, including the flagship Daily Inter Lake, as well as the Hungry Horse News, Whitefish Pilot, The Western News, Bigfork Eagle, Lake County Leader, Clark Fork Valley Press and Mineral Independent.

His final day with the company will be Jan. 31.

In announcing Weaver’s retirement, Hagadone Corporation President Brad Hagadone named Hagadone Media Montana Regional Advertising Director Anton Kaufer as the newspaper group’s next regional publisher.

In a staff memo, Hagadone celebrated Weaver’s storied career and forthcoming retirement, and praised Kaufer as well positioned to lead the Montana group to future success.

“We want to wish both of these fine gentlemen all the very best in their new upcoming roles in life,” Hagadone stated.

A NORTHWEST Montana native, Weaver is a graduate of Flathead High School and Flathead Valley Community College. After earning a history degree at the University of Montana, Weaver’s professional newspaper career started at the Daily Inter Lake in 1975.

His career path took him to Pioneer Newspapers group, where he stayed for approximately 20 years. At Pioneer, he held publisher roles at the Havre Daily News, Bozeman Daily Chronicle and finally at the Idaho Press-Tribune in Nampa, Idaho.

He rejoined the Hagadone Corporation as Montana's regional publisher in 2010, at the time saying he cherished the opportunity to lead his hometown newspaper.

"In the newspaper industry it is very unusual for a person born and raised in a community to ever get the opportunity to be the publisher of the local newspaper,” Weaver commented. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Hagadone family provided me to return to the Flathead and be the publisher of my hometown newspaper. Unlike perhaps what many people may think, the Inter Lake is extremely autonomous with the decisions made at the local level."

During Weaver’s 13-year tenure as regional publisher, the newspaper group has sustained a vital and vibrant presence in each of the newspaper’s respective communities by prioritizing hyper-local editorial content and locally-driven marketing strategies. Weaver also helped usher in the digital era, with the newspaper group websites now averaging nearly 1.3 million pageviews a month, while boasting approximately 95,000 followers on social media.

Weaver has served on numerous local and statewide boards, including the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and a term as Montana West Economic Development board president.

Weaver was honored with the Montana Newspaper Association’s Master Editor/Publisher Award in 2008. He was the recipient of Flathead Valley Community College’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.

Weaver and his wife Karen live in Lakeside. Together they have four grown children, Kimberly, Angela, Alex and Nick.

Plans for an open house reception celebrating Weaver’s retirement will be announced at a later date.

KAUFER JOINED the Daily Inter Lake and Hagadone Media Montana in January 2017 as regional advertising director. Prior to moving to Montana, he was director of advertising for the Shreveport Times in Shreveport, Louisiana.

He started in the newspaper industry with his hometown newspaper, the Berkshire Eagle, in 2001 and has held leadership positions in newspapers in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and Louisiana.

"I feel honored to follow in Rick's footsteps and lead our Montana newspapers alongside our talented teams,” Kaufer said. “As our region continues to grow and evolve, it's our responsibility to keep folks informed of what's happening in their communities — whether that's in our printed newspapers or online through our websites, news app, newsletters or our podcasts. These papers are a vital part of our communities, and our commitment to producing top notch local journalism and marketing solutions is as strong as it's ever been.”

"I am extremely pleased that Anton will be taking my place,” Weaver added. “I can't think of a better person or a better succession plan that will make sure the Inter Lake and Hagadone Media Montana continues to be the leading source of news in Northwest Montana."

Originally from western Massachusetts, Kaufer attended Berkshire Community College and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

He is a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Glacier Country and also Glacier AERO. He is the current vice president of the Montana Newspaper Association board. In 2021, Kaufer was honored as volunteer of the year by the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce.

Kaufer and his wife Betsy live in Creston, and have a grown son, Alex.


Anton Kaufer at the Daily Inter Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 4. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)