Lage promoted to vice president of Rust Communications

Friday, October 15, 2004

Business Today

Wally Lage, publisher of the Southeast Missourian and chief operating officer of Cape Girardeau-based Rust Communications the past 11 years, has been promoted to vice president of Rust Communications. He will continue as the company's chief operating officer.

Jon K. Rust, son of Rust Communications founder Gary W. Rust, has been named publisher of the Southeast Missourian. He continues as co-president of Rust Communications, a post he has held with his brother, Rex Rust, since February 2001.

Lage joined Rust Communications in 1993 when the company had full or part ownership in four newspapers. Today, the company is one of the fastest growing private newspaper groups in the country with full or part ownership in 19 daily newspapers, more than 30 weekly newspapers and 17 radio stations in eight states.

"Wally has been the key to our company's growth over the past decade," Jon Rust said. "He is a valuable member of the team who is highly respected in the industry and by our talented group of publishers."

Lage is in line next year to become president of the PAGE newspaper co-op, a nationwide organization that negotiates volume purchasing discounts for its member newspapers. Lage has served on the PAGE board and as chairman of its vendor committee for several years.

Lage also is a minority owner of several of the newspapers in the Rust Communications network, which was started by Gary Rust in 1967.

"It has become a challenge to be point person on Rust network issues while also serving as publisher of the Missourian," Lage said. "Cape Girardeau and the employees of the Southeast Missourian already know Jon well. This marks a great transition to the future, especially as we prepare to celebrate the Missourian's 100th anniversary."

A Jefferson City, Mo., native, Lage was a U.S. Army officer and has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Jon Rust is a Cape Girardeau native who grew up in the newspaper business, starting with Gary Rust's Bulletin Journal. When the Bulletin Journal merged with the Southeast Missourian in 1986, Jon Rust worked for the Missourian during the summers while in college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he graduated with honors in English literature and Russian language. He was managing editor of The Daily Tar Heel student newspaper.

After living and working in Russia for a period of time, Rust returned to the family business as director of special projects. He also served as the Missourian's editorial-page editor and publisher of the Scott County Signal before a stint as a capitol correspondent in Washington, D.C. He returned to the Midwest to launch the Dyersburg News in Tennessee, where he served as publisher for three years.

Rust took a leave of absence to complete his master's degree in business administration at Harvard Business School in Boston, Mass., graduating with distinction in 1999. While at Harvard, he served as president of the Leadership and Ethics Forum. After graduation, he received a dean's research fellowship at Harvard, authoring case studies and several textbook chapters on Internet media companies.

As co-president, Jon Rust will continue to focus on newspaper operations, new media initiatives and strategic issues. Co-president Rex Rust will continue to oversee acquisitions, finance management, radio operations and shareholder relations.

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