By Great Falls Tribune

Jo Dee Black, a veteran editor at the Great Falls Tribune, is taking over as the top newsroom leader.

Black has worked as a reporter and a business and features editor at the Tribune for 17 years. She will become its news director, providing overall supervision for all news staff and content.

“It is a privilege to work with the Great Falls Tribune’s dedicated team of journalists who bring us stories from northcentral Montana and investigate issues important to our communities,” said Black. “We are humbled by the trust our sources and the confidence our readers have in the Tribune and we work every day to earn those assets.”

Black is a 1986 graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minnesota and started her journalism career as a reporter at the Cut Bank Pioneer Press. She first began writing for the Tribune as a correspondent in 1998.

She will report to Carol Hunter, Plains regional editor for the USA TODAY NETWORK, of which the Tribune is a part.

“I’m pleased to promote from within the Tribune staff for this important position,” Hunter said. “Jo Dee has deep roots in Montana and understands its issues and its people. She will uphold the Tribune’s tradition of community involvement and public-service journalism.”

Black takes the newsroom reins from Jim Strauss, who has served as president, publisher and editor. Strauss, who joined the Tribune as executive editor in 1995, will retain the title of president and publisher and devote himself fully to leading revenue initiatives. Gannett Co. Inc., parent company of the Tribune, has shifted to a structure that separates leadership of its revenue and journalistic functions. Strauss was the last leader in the company to fill both roles.

Holly Kopeikin, Tribune director of sales and part of the Tribune’s advertising team for eight years, will be a key leader in this new structure, Strauss said. Kopeikin will continue to report to Strauss. “This change will allow us to better focus our energies for our customers, and I’m fortunate to have two longtime Tribune managers as strong as Jo Dee and Holly to help lead us forward,” he said. These two are not only respected in our building but also throughout the community, as they are active in and committed to the Great Falls area.

“I will miss the daily connection with the passionate and dedicated members of our news team, but I look forward to having more time to work with our talented sales team to deliver the best digital, print and event solutions for our advertisers,” said Strauss. “The Tribune’s content is in good hands, with Jo Dee and our team. I know Jo Dee will be working closely with all of her staff, especially Content Coach Scott Thompson and longtime Sports Columnist Scott Mansch. Our coverage will only get better.”


The Tribune is the oldest business in Great Falls, starting as a weekly newspaper in 1885 before converting to daily publication two years later. It won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2000 for its examination of alcohol abuse and its impact on the community. Today, the Tribune reaches the largest audience in its history through the combination of the daily print edition, the website, its e-edition and Facebook and Twitter accounts.