Brenk is new publisher at DL, Park Rapids
There is a new leader at the helm of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers. Mary Brenk was recently named publisher of the Becker County Record and Detroit Lakes Tribune, as well as the Park Rapids Enterprise. Parent company Forum Communications announced...
There is a new leader at the helm of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers.
Mary Brenk was recently named publisher of the Becker County Record and Detroit Lakes Tribune, as well as the Park Rapids Enterprise.
Parent company Forum Communications announced the promotion of Brenk, who was the advertising manager for Detroit Lakes Newspapers.
Brenk takes over for Dennis Winskowski, who retired after nearly 30 years in the business.
“Dennis was a great mentor for me, so that’ll help me greatly as I transition into this new role,” said Brenk, who steps into the position after 24 years at the Detroit Lakes Newspapers.
Turning the page
Mary Brenk grew up in Staples, Minn. before accepting a position in Detroit Lakes managing the Vanity clothing store in 1980.
In 1990, she was approached by the owner of the Lake Area Press about taking a job there as the advertising manager. That’s when Brenk’s love of what she does was born.
“You get to go out and meet with business owners and help them draw customers into their stores; it was a different kind of challenge, and I began to really love it,” said Brenk.
When Forum Communications purchased the Lake Area Press shopper in 1992, Brenk joined the advertising team at the Detroit Lakes Newspapers before being named ad manager in 2005.
Brenk, who found herself immersed in the challenges of building creative ads for clients, also found that the job was rewarding for her as well.
“When you get that feedback from clients about how your ad campaign helped produce great results for them, and they were able to measure what we drew in for them, that’s huge,” said Brenk. “That’s very rewarding.”
During her time as advertising manager, Brenk helped grow the newspapers’ special sections.
“This is where we started really being able to do some strong target marketing,” said Brenk, who most recently oversaw the successful “Mountain Reborn” book that chronicled the re-birth of the Detroit Mountain Recreational Area. It gave local business a chance to promote themselves in a once in a lifetime publication.
“Everybody loved the idea of the mountain being a part of the community again, and we created something that could be a keepsake for people - it was historical,” said Brenk, who also helped create and grow special section publications like “Women in Business,” the “Becker County Care Guide,” the “Wedding Planner,” “Summer Scene” magazines and more.
“When budgets were cut for the school, they came to us and asked if we could put together their school calendar, and we took that challenge,” said Brenk. “Businesses in the community helped support the piece, and together we all made that happen.”
Brenk says her goal has been to help pull readers in to be a part of what the newspaper does, and in finding that connection with the community, the paper has grown in its reach and is well-respected in the industry.
The Detroit Lakes Tribune has been awarded the prestigious Mills trophy by the Minnesota Newspaper Association for best weekly newspaper in Minnesota three years in a row.
“We work so hard to create the very best newspaper we can, and our job in advertising was to create the very best ads we could for our clients, and that ultimately helped our newspaper win that award,” said Brenk. “We’re very proud of that.”
“I’ve had people ask me, ‘Aren’t newspapers dying?’, but the fact is, we’re not dying, we’re growing,” said Brenk. “We have a very strong digital presence on dl-online, and we are reaching even more people than we ever could with print alone.”
Brenk says growing that digital platform is a big focus of the newspaper, providing immediate news information to readers and giving local businesses “incredible opportunities.”
“It allows them to reach local customers, regional, national - even customers around the world if that’s what they want,” said Brenk. “We are still the No. 1 place where people go for information and advertising, and customer care is our priority.”
Brenk, who will also be heading up the Park Rapids Enterprise, says she will be going there on a regular basis to build an even stronger relationship with that paper and community as well.
Beyond that, Brenk says her goal as publisher is to help grow the culture initiative that Forum Communications has launched.
With a company goal of making Forum Communications “the best place on earth to work,” Brenk says she’s excited to help make that happen.
“We want everybody in this building to have a cohesive team that works together - a place for people to come and enjoy what they do,” said Brenk. “And I think that already knowing the quality of the people I’m working with makes this transition a very easy one.”
Brenk says as the newspapers continue to strive to help grow businesses and to tell the stories of the people throughout the community, her door will remain open for input and new ideas.
“With everything happening here and now being a four-season resort town, our potential for growth is going to explode,” said Brenk. “We’re going to see a lot of great things in our town, and we’ll do our part in being at the forefront of that growth.”
Brenk lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk. Together they have five children - Devon, Jake, Christopher, Eric and Jess. They also have three grandchildren -Merida, Aiden and Zach.