The Wapakoneta Daily News has a familiar face returning to the newspaper — and this time it is to lead the group.
Deb Zwez, the publisher of The Evening Leader in St. Marys, has taken over Dianna Epperly’s position as publisher of the Wapakoneta Daily News — and brings experience to her new spot as well as a passion for the city of Wapakoneta.
“I love Wapak,” Zwez said. “It’s a great city and has a lot of things going for it and has potential for great things.”
Zwez noted one of her goals as publisher is to continue to be a community supporter and to have the newspaper be a representation of the community.
“I want us to have financial success and continue to be a player in the community,” Zwez said.
She also wants the newspaper to continue to represent the community.
“I want the newspaper to continue to chronicle the life and times of the community, so future generations can look back and see what the community was all about,” Zwez said.
Zwez said through her experiences at various places she has learned that teamwork is essential in the newspaper business.
“When I stepped foot in 8 Willipie St. on my first day, I knew how to do one thing — to write a story,” Zwez said, reflecting on her first job out of college with the Wapakoneta Daily News. “But I learned that you can get more done when you work as a team.
“We have a really great team here,” she said. “There are people in place here that are well suited to do the jobs they do.”
Managing Editor William Laney said he looks forward to working with Zwez again. Zwez hired Laney as the farm and business reporter in 1993.
“She provided guidance and teaching in 1993 and I am sure she intends to lead the newspaper the same way — she wants us
to continue to improve as writers as well as to continue to cover local issues, to be responsive to the community and to do our best,” Laney said. “Her experience is valued and she understands a newspaper needs to focus on local news and provide that news in an objective manner.
“I am sure my staff will enjoy working for her as much as I will again,” he said.
Zwez, who is originally from Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y., attended college at the University of Dayton, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication arts, with a concentration in public relations.
After her college graduation, Zwez landed her first job at the Wapakoneta Daily News in 1983 as the business and agriculture editor.
“It was pretty ironic to come to Wapak as the business and farm editor, because the only thing I knew about farming was from driving by farms in my car,” Zwez said, with a laugh. “I knew nothing about agriculture, and so many people were very welcoming and helped me learn.”
Zwez noted that when she moved to Wapakoneta after college, everyone welcomed her and helped to make her feel at home.
“It’s a pretty welcoming city,” Zwez said.
After her first job, she then worked at a newspaper in Upper Sandusky as a reporter for a short amount of time, before returning back to the area in March 1989, when she became the managing editor of the Wapakoneta Daily News.
Epperly, the publisher at the time, had called Zwez and told her about the opportunity to come back to the newspaper as the editor, and she accepted.
After her editor position, Zwez became the director of the Wapak-oneta Area Chamber of Commerce in 1995, which is the same year she married her husband, John.
She then came back into the journalism field in November 2001 and landed her first publisher position at the Community Post, in Minster, which is a title she currently holds.
In May 2006, she became the publisher of The Evening Leader, before coming back to the Wapakoneta Daily News this week as publisher, a job she immediately took over after Epperly’s retirement.
Zwez said she loves the city of Wapakoneta and this is where she and her husband, John, are raising their son, Michael, who attends Wapakoneta High School.
Currently, Zwez is a member of the Wapakoneta Downtown Partnership, is on the Wapakoneta YMCA Board of Directors, the president of the Wapak Waves summer swim team and is a St. Marys Rotary Club member, and is hoping to transfer her membership to Wapakoneta.