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Forum Communications company to start Upper Midwest news service

Forum Communications Company is expanding its presence in the region with the launch of a multi-state news service, company President Lloyd Case announced Wednesday.

Existing FCC newspapers, websites, magazines and broadcast outlets in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin will provide content for the news service - an effort that will begin immediately. Over the next two years, the company will make continued investments into the news service with the intention of building the most comprehensive, affordable product to which other media outlets throughout the Upper Midwest can subscribe.

Mike Jacobs, editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald, has been selected to lead these efforts.

"Jacobs is a good, strong newsman and a good, strong manager," Case said. "Nobody knows more about the region than he does."

Jacobs, a Stanley, N.D., native and the Herald's editor since 1984, will continue as publisher, but the search for a new editor in Grand Forks will soon be under way.

One of Jacobs' first tasks as head of the news service will be to establish a footprint for the company in northwestern North Dakota - specifically the Oil Patch. The search for a reporter to cover the state's largest ongoing issue will begin immediately. The northwestern North Dakota bureau, as well as existing FCC bureaus in Bismarck, N.D., and St. Paul, Minn., will report to Jacobs.

In the next couple of years, additional bureaus and staff will be added in an effort to further boost the company's reporting reach, Case said.

William C. Marcil, chairman of Forum Communications, said the Marcil family company continues to dedicate itself and its properties to providing the best-quality news and information to its audiences in the Upper Midwest.

The FCC properties will continue to publish the kinds of regional, national and international stories and photos offered by wire outlets such as the Associated Press. However, a company-wide task force will evaluate in the coming year which outside news providers are the best fit for the entire FCC network, which includes daily newspapers in Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Dickinson, N.D., as well as Mitchell, S.D., and Duluth, Bemidji, Willmar and Worthington in Minnesota.

Additionally, Forum Communications owns nearly two dozen weekly papers in the region, including the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Park Rapids Enterprise, East Otter Tail Focus, Alexandria Echo Press, Detroit Lakes Tribune, the Morris Sun Tribune, as well as concentrations in the Twin Cities suburbs, the Mississippi River Valley and northeastern Minnesota. The company owns broadcast outlets in Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Minot, and publishes Prairie Business, a monthly magazine, and Agweek, from its Grand Forks offices.