Editor and Publisher calls the Star Tribune's leader a 'hometown hero.'
Star Tribune publisher Michael Klingensmith was named publisher of the year Thursday by the trade journal Editor and Publisher.
The magazine cited strong circulation growth in a tough newspaper environment and aggressive expansion into digital news as its basis for Klingensmith's honor.
"The Star Tribune is standing tall as one of the elite U.S. newspapers," said the magazine, calling Klingensmith a "hometown hero."
Klingensmith, who is an avid Twins fan, was raised in Fridley and drove a Twin Cities taxi for three summers when he went to college. He returned to Minneapolis to take the Star Tribune's helm in January 2010.
The soft-spoken Klingensmith said he was honored by the recognition but that the achievements during his era were the result of the hard work of many.
"I'm very pleased for the Star Tribune that the good work we're doing is being recognized nationally," Klingensmith said.
When he arrived at the Minneapolis-based newspaper, circulation had dipped to a low that the newspaper hadn't seen since 1982. Since then, the trend has reversed, as Sunday circulation is expected to pass 500,000 in the next six-month reporting period. Daily circulation is 296,605.
The Star Tribune also tackled the digital world, redesigning its website in April under Klingensmith's watch and recently launching a news iPad app and other mobile apps.
The Star Tribune had just emerged from bankruptcy when Klingensmith arrived. To get the paper back to profitability, he continued to emphasize cost savings while expanding new revenue opportunities through print and digital niche products. Earlier this year, employees were rewarded with a $1,100 profit sharing check.
Klingensmith has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He spent 32 years in the world of magazine publishing at Time Inc., which included stints as publisher of Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated.
David Phelps • 612-673-7269