Home' Local Media Today : March 2008 Contents “It is the little things that matter
most to readers on a day-to-day basis.”
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Who is Cindy Eikamp? Tell us about
Cindy Eikamp is (I am??) executive edi-
tor of the American News in Aberdeen,
S.D. A native of a small South Dakota
town only 60 miles from Aberdeen, I
grew up reading this newspaper.
I have been at the American News for
34 years — 10 years as a reporter, five
years as managing editor and 19 years as
executive editor. I have worked for nine
publishers and three owners — Ridder
Publications, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
and now, Schurz Communications Inc.
of South Bend, Ind.
I have a journalism degree from South
Dakota State University in Brookings,
S.D., where I was editor of the student
My husband, Rod, and I have been mar-
ried for 35 years and live on a hobby
farm a few miles outside town. We
enjoy traveling; I am addicted to geneal-
How did you get into the newspaper
I love to write and I am extremely curi-
ous. Journalism seemed the obvious
career choice to me once I realized writ-
ing the great American novel wasn’t
going to happen immediately.
However, my father didn’t share that
view. He said journalism was no place
for a woman. If I went to college to be a
teacher, a nurse or a secretary, he would
pay for it. If I wanted to be a journalist,
he said I could pay for college. My
What do you like most about the busi-
ness? The least?
I love the fact that the newspaper busi-
ness is different every day. You never
know what a day will bring; it certainly
is never boring.
That same unpredictability is sometimes
maddening when it collides with long-
made personal plans.
When the well runs dry, how do you
recharge the spark?
Two very different ways: workshops and
vacation. Workshops help you get reen-
thused and see the possibilities that are
right before you. Vacations rest the
What do you know now that you wish
you knew when you started in this
That simple is best and it is the little
things that matter most to readers on a
The only thing I know for sure about
the business of running newsrooms
It’s challenging, fun and very rewarding.
I can’t imagine any other job that would
be as fulfilling.
Who/what is your major influence?
High school and college journalism
The world would be a vastly better
place if only people would...
treat others the way they want to be
treated and have the same expectations
for themselves as they have for others.
What three accomplishments are you
most proud of?
Several major reporting projects that the
newsroom has done over the years.
Those projects elevated the pubic dis-
cussion of issues facing the community
and the region. Whether as a reporter or
an editor, I’ve always been in the middle
of all our major reporting projects.
Serving as a judge for the Society of
Newspaper Design contest one year was
No one is better than I am when it
I pride myself on being a good consen-
I still can’t quite get the hang of...
Believe it or not, affect vs. effect. I try
to avoid using them whenever possible!
If you could have dinner with any-
one, living or dead, who would it be?
George Washington. I love history. I’m
fascinated about life in early-day
America and the struggles for independ-
ence; I would like to hear about it first-
If you couldn’t be a newspaper-
woman, what would you like to be
I really can’t imagine. At one time I was
interested in the law but that was years
What do you do for kicks?
I love working on my family tree, prob-
ably because I am so nosy. I can spend
hours on the computer tracking some
obscure ancestor through history. It is
also a great way to make history come
I also like to garden, bake and travel to
warm places during South Dakota’s win-
Cindy Eikamp is reached at
Is it time for
Web Comics edgier
With a sub-headline “Web comics that
will make you ditch your newspaper”, a
recent article on computerworld.com
discussed the emergence of quirky web
comic strips “PvP”, “We The Robots”
and a few others.
Citizen journalism, blogging and real
time dialogues are increasingly com-
monplace on newspaper websites.
Perhaps it’s time to open the floodgates
to local artists with a sense of humor.
The local newspaper website could be
the ideal setting for hometown comic
strips. Food for thought....
American News Executive Editor Cindy Eikamp (red dress) is shown here with Managing
City Editor Anita Meyer and Managing Sports/News Editor John Papendick.
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