After 30 years at The Chronicle and more than six years as publisher of The Chronicle and president of Lafromboise Communications, Christine Fossett said goodbye to the newspaper this week as Michael Wagar prepared to take her place at the organization’s helm.
Wagar was most recently publisher of the Nisqually Valley News and regional executive editor of that newspaper, The Chronicle and the The Reflector in Battle Ground. All three newspapers are owned by Lafromboise Communications. He will continue as publisher at the Nisqually Valley News, and is excited to announce his replacement as editor, but will wait on that announcement until next week.
“I am humbled and honored to join the great past presidents of Lafromboise Communications, Inc., specifically Denny Waller who hired me originally, and Christine Fossett who rehired me at the Nisqually Valley News after I took a break from the newspaper industry for a few years,” Wagar said. “I met with staff this week and I was moved by their dedication to this newspaper and this community.”
Wagar is a C.B. Blethen Memorial Award-winning reporter and incoming president of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. He started at The Chronicle in 2001 as executive managing editor and led the newsroom during its important and difficult coverage of the 2007 flood.
His time as editor of The Chronicle coincided with dozens of awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and several C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for distinguished reporting.
Lafromboise Communications owner Jenifer Lafromboise Falcon said she is excited about having Wagar as president of her company, which also includes a printing division.
“My mother, Jeri Lafromboise, and Michael had a wonderful working relationship. She often was seen ‘making rounds’ throughout the The Chronicle building chatting with staff about what was going on that day, what they were working on and how their families were doing,” Lafromboise Falcon said. “I remember her sharing with me that she always loved her conversations with Michael. It helped her feel connected to the community. She would be very pleased to know that Michael is leading this team.”
Lafromboise Falcon assumed ownership of the company from her mother, Jeri Lafromboise, in early 2013. She took over as chairman of the board when her mother retired from the role in early 2012.
She said Wagar has her full confidence.
“He promises to have an open door and an open mind as we refine what we do best — provide quality journalism and a quality staff that is also dedicated to our task,” she said.