Mike Fortman promoted to TH Media publisher and VP of WCM

Bob Woodward to transition to new role

Mike Fortman and Bob Woodward

Woodward Communications, Inc. (WCI), an employee-owned company headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, announced today that, as part of a long-term succession planning process, Mike Fortman will succeed Bob Woodward as TH Media publisher and VP of Woodward Community Media (WCM) in January 2024.   

WCI is the parent company of TH Media and WCM, which owns and operates TH Media, eight weekly newspapers and five shopping news publications located in eastern Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois.  In his role, Fortman will have overall leadership responsibilities for the businesses, which include digital, print and event products and services.

Fortman has been with the company for 13 years and was promoted to TH Media’s associate publisher and group director of advertising for WCM in July 2021.  He is currently the board chairperson of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Dubuque Air Service Task Force, ex officio board member of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, Iowa Newspaper Association Marketing Committee, and is president of the Multimedia Newspaper Advertising Executives Association.

Woodward, who has been with WCI for 15 years, was named TH Media’s publisher and VP of WCM in 2019, and prior to that role was WCI’s VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development.  As part of Woodward’s semi-retirement plans, he will transition into a new role as director of Journalism Philanthropy and College Student Internships. 

“I am very happy and pleased with our succession plans for both Mike and Bob.  Mike’s extensive industry knowledge and experiences, along with his overall leadership skills at our company, including his knowledge and involvement in the various communities we serve, will serve our company, its employee owners, and customers very well,” said Tom Woodward, CEO and president of WCI. 

“Further, as our industry business model continues to evolve, Bob’s role of developing philanthropic opportunities and channels that directly support quality local journalism and procuring future journalists will help position us to continue the important work we do for our communities and our democracy,” Tom Woodward said.

Fortman commented, “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead TH Media and Woodward Community Media.  I have had the good fortune of working closely with Bob, and an amazing team of employee owners, over the past several years, which has helped prepare me for this new role.  As we continue the transition to a digital first media company, we will continue to focus on local community journalism in the communities we serve.  Additionally, we will develop new products and services to complement our current portfolio, so we can provide unmatched results for our advertisers and business partners through digital, video, print and event platforms.”

Bob Woodward said, “As I approached retirement age, I was happy to have a capable and experienced person to succeed me in Mike.  He is active and respected in the community and will do a great job.  I look forward to my new role as this will allow me to continue to support our communities and the industry in which we serve.”

Since the merger of the Dubuque Telegraph and Dubuque Herald in 1901, 10 men have held the title of TH publisher prior to Fortman.  The longest tenured was Fred W. Woodward from 1917 to 1975, who was the great-grandfather of Tom and Bob Woodward.


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