Ziegler, Top Fargo Editor, Dies at 56

By: (AP) Lou Ziegler, a longtime newspaperman and editor of The Forum, North Dakota's largest daily newspaper, has died. He was 56.

Ziegler died Saturday surrounded by his family in Naples, Fla., where he kept a second home, the newspaper said.

Ziegler told his newsroom staff in late October that doctors had diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer that apparently had spread to his liver.

Despite declining health, he remained active in his final weeks managing the newsroom.

Ziegler's career in journalism began more than 30 years ago, with a reporting job at his hometown newspaper in Palmyra, N.Y., and he become a veteran editor with experience on dailies around the country. He took over as editor of the Forum in May 2000.

Ziegler held a variety of editing positions for Gannett Rochester Newspapers from 1973 to 1986, and in 1985, he spent a year traveling the country and writing cover stories for USA Today.

Later, he became editor of the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y., The News Leader in Springfield, Mo., the Daily Californian, in El Cajon, Calif., and of Derrick Publishing Co., in Oil City, Pa., where he supervised two newspapers.

In 1996, he was recruited by Thomson Newspapers Inc. to be the editor of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. From 1998 until he became editor of the Forum, he was a vice president at Thomson, based in Valdosta, Ga., overseeing editorial content for six dailies in south Georgia.

In 1999, he took a sabbatical to become editorial director and senior editor of Thomson's newsroom training center in Oshkosh, Wis.

Under Ziegler's leadership, the Forum won state and national honors, including a first place award from the Associated Press Managing Editors for its multimedia 2003 series "Saving North Dakota." The series looked at the state's population and economic challenges.

Ziegler was the Forum's fifth editor. The newspaper is owned by Forum Communications, a Fargo-based company with a television station, radio stations, six daily newspapers, and eight weeklies in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"He still was a reporter at heart and asked all the tough questions," said William C. Marcil, the publisher of the Forum, said of Ziegler.

"Our newspaper and our community are better because he was here," said Steven McLister, the newspaper's general manager.


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