Dennis DeRossett named as executive director of Illinois Press Association

The Illinois Press Association Board of Directors today announced its selection for its executive director following a nationwide search that lasted more than six months.

Dennis DeRossett of Alto Pass, publisher of the Southern Illinoisan newspaper in Carbondale, was chosen for the position.

He succeeds David L. Bennett, who retired last summer after 24 years of service.

“I have known Dennis for almost 20 years,” said Steve Raymond, 2010 president of the IPA and publisher of the Effingham Daily News.

“He’s the kind of person we want leading the Illinois Press Association. His knowledge and experience, plus his personality, have helped him be a successful journalist, publisher and leader for many years. And his integrity is above reproach.

“I believe we’re very fortunate to have a person of his caliber take over the reins of this organization. I am really looking forward to working with him.”

Kathy Farren, editor/co-owner of the Kendall County Record in Yorkville, was president of the IPA when the search began.

“We had no idea when we began the search process for a new executive director that we would find the successful candidate not only in our own state, but on our own board of directors,” she said.

“However, it soon became clear that Dennis’ skills and experience made him a strong contender for the position.”

DeRossett joined the IPA board of directors in 2006. He has been publisher of the Southern Illinoisan, owned by Lee Enterprises, since July 2002.

He is a native of nearby Murphysboro and worked at the Southern Illinoisan in college.

After graduating from John A. Logan College in Carterville with an associate’s degree and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree, DeRossett worked at newspapers in Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma and was active with press associations in those states.

In 2009, he served as president of the Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

 “This is an exciting time of change for the newspaper industry as we evolve our business models to meet the ever-changing needs of readers and advertisers,” DeRossett said.

“I am both humbled and excited to have the opportunity to serve as executive director of the Illinois Press Association.

“This organization has a strong history and tradition of service to its members and that will certainly continue.”

He said the IPA will continue to be an important resource to help newspapers “remain the dominant source of news and information in their communities.”

Farren thanked the IPA’s attorney, Don  Craven, for serving as interim executive director during the search.

“We could not have made it through this transition period without his leadership and guidance. The Association owes him a big debt of gratitude for his willingness to do both jobs for us for so long.”

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