New publisher takes lead with Peninsula newspaper group

Terry Ward succeeds John Brewer in role with local media organization

Reception for new publisher

Terry Ward, the new publisher of the Sequim Gazette, Forks Forum, Peninsula Daily News and Olympic Peninsula Homes-Land, will be introduced to the community at a reception set for 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Gazette office, 147 W. Washington St. The public is invited to attend. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

A similar reception is being held in Port Angeles on Sept. 16 and will take place in Forks on Sept. 23.



Before he was old enough to attend school, Terry Ward was working.

Born after his father died in a car crash, he was the youngest of four children who helped his family make ends meet in towns across California, Oregon and Washington state.

The lessons he learned were obvious.

“If you work hard, you will always provide for your family,” Ward, now 43, says. “Sometimes you don’t have to leave your comfort zone, but sometimes you have to put yourself out there. But you can determine the outcome. You also have to put yourself in the right situations. If you focus on the positive … there’s not a challenge we can’t overcome if we buckle down and make some decisions.”

No wonder the new publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, when asked to pick between Batman and Superman (more on that later) chose Batman. (“He’s an average person who made himself great,” Ward says.)

Ward succeeds John Brewer, who is retiring as publisher and editor Oct. 9 after nearly two decades at the Peninsula Daily News and a five-decade career in journalism.

Ward, who will oversee the three newspapers and their websites, plus the monthly Olympic Homes-Land real estate magazine, is working with Brewer in the coming weeks as the newsgroup makes the transition in leadership. (The newspapers, magazine and websites are owned by Sound Publishing Inc., the largest publisher of community newspapers in the state.)

Ward brings his family — wife Quinn, 7-year-old son Dawson and daughters Violet, 3, and Eleanor, 1 — to the Olympic Peninsula.

While Ward has intentions on redesigning the PDN’s website and expanding its online presence, he’s still evaluating what is to be done in Sequim.

“We still want to put out a great journalistic (product),” he says. “My goal isn’t change for change’s sake. I want to hear from the community, to hear what they want to see in the their paper. What do we do well? What do we not do well? There’s always room for improvement.”

Ward says he believes a newspaper is a reflection of the community it serves.

“Sequim is a vibrant community. We’re in a good position to (serve it).”

Ward says he’ll have temporary office in Sequim at least one and possibly two days per week, making himself available for community members. “I want people to feel comfortable stopping by and talking,” he says.

While he’ll be spreading time between Sequim, Port Angeles and Forks publications, that’s nothing new for Ward; at KPC media he operated out of six offices overseeing 22 publications.

“My goal is to be a partner in this community,” he says.

And while the traditional view of print journalism is changing, Ward says the local newsgroup is changing right along with it — meeting readers in print or digitally.

“If we do that while serving our customers, we’ll be OK,” he says.


Challenges, experiences

Picking fruits and vegetables across the West and some in Florida, Ward and his family moved so much he estimates he attended 36 schools by the time he hit his senior year.

“You had to learn to hold your own — the new kid always gets challenged,” he says. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the challenges and experiences I’ve been through.”

Growing up, Ward wanted to be a marine biologist or possibly an attorney — “I’m good at arguing with people — but a family connection helped set his future. Ward says his older brother helped him get a job at a newspaper in Oklahoma while Terry was in high school.

“Out of the blue, the local publisher offered me a job,” Ward says. “He said, ‘Why don’t you come learn how to write.’

“Writing and reporting,” he says, “are two different things.”

By 6 a.m. on some days, Ward was on the job picking up the police reports and writing stories, then heading to school. After school, it was anything from eight-man football games to festivals and the like.

“Once I got in the newspaper business, I never wanted to do anything else,” he says.

But publisher Charles Drew, who became Ward’s mentor, didn’t keep him in the newsroom.

“He saw something in me — he wanted to give me a hand up,” Ward says. “(He) wanted to give me a well-rounded education.”

That meant everything from a paper delivery route to washing down plates at the press to making advertisement sales calls. “Eventually, I realized I had a pretty good knack for sales.”

By age 18 Ward was a circulation director of a staff of six.

Since then he’s been an advertising director, general manager and group publisher. He ran sales and digital operations at GateHouse Media’s Community Newspaper Division, where he worked with Gloria Fletcher, now Sound Publishing president.

“Best boss I’ve ever had,” Ward says of Fletcher.

Fletcher describes Ward as “a quiet, energetic and thought-provoking leader.”

Ward then served as the publisher of Paxton Media Group before joining KPC Media Group in Kendallville, Ind., north of Fort Wayne, in 2012. He was vice president of sales, digital and marketing before being promoted to chief operating officer and eventually CEO.

But then, a job on the Olympic Peninsula came calling.

“We love the area,” Ward says, noting that his wife — who was born and raised and hadn’t left Illinois before she met him, fell in love with the new surroundings.

Ward says he expects he’ll be active in both Sequim and Port Angeles, looking for opportunities to serve with organizations.

“Hopefully, if I’m invited, I’d like to be on boards in both communities,” he says.

Reach Ward at or 452-2345 x1150.


Random Questions: with Terry Ward

Question No. 27: Who is your favorite artist/musician/writer?

Ward: John Maxwell. He writes a lot of books about leadership. I enjoy (the classics) but Maxwell inspires me to be a better leader.

Question No. 32: Batman or Superman?

Ward: Batman. He’s an average person who made himself great. I was walking through our neighborhood this summer with my son wearing Batman masks … not on Halloween. I got some interesting looks. I did it for the kids.

Bonus question: Old/original TV Batman or newer Batman?

Ward: I hate the old Batman. The new one looks more robust.

Question No. 44: Would you rather live to 100 or go out in a blaze of glory?

Ward: I’d rather live a long, fulfilled life. It’s been a pretty good life so far.

Question No. 47: Do aliens exist?

Ward: I believe there are things we can’t explain.

Question No. 48: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Ward: To stop and smell the roses. I’m a Type-A personality. My wife has taught me to take a step back and enjoy the life around me.