Two long-time Hays Daily News employees recently have been promoted to leadership roles. Mary Karst, advertising manager, also now will serve as the general manager. In the newsroom, interim managing editor Nick McQueen has been promoted to managing editor.

The promotions took effect last week. Karst will continue to serve as advertising manager, and McQueen also will continue as sports editor.

The two have a combined 60 years of experience, with Karst beginning work as a typesetter in the composing room at a young age. She worked her way up the ranks in the composing room and was promoted to advertising sales, later becoming manager. She even worked for a time as the company’s information technology coordinator.

“I feel like my experiences and everything I’ve learned in the 42 years I’ve been with The Hays Daily News is going to help me hopefully be a good leader into the future,” Karst said. “And the fact that GateHouse Media now being our parent company, we have access to some resources that will really help us move into the digital world.”

Karst is a lifelong Hays resident and knows the community well, which she said also will serve her well in her new role.

While The Hays Daily News has been transitioning for several years to expand its online presence and digital offerings, Karst said further innovation will be a major priority for the future.

“I feel like the community really needs to understand we’re so much more than just a printed newspaper anymore,” she said. “Readership is driving us to become more and more digital as we move into the future. And hopefully we can position ourselves to continue to provide ethical journalism as we move into the digital world.”

McQueen began work at The Hays Daily News as a part-time sports reporter in 2000, after earning a journalism degree from Dodge City Community College. He moved to a full-time spot just a few years later, working through the ranks of assistant sports editor to sports editor.

He branched into the news department beginning in 2014, when he took over as special sections editor, also working as a copy editor and photographer, in addition to maintaining the sports editor role. 

“It’s exciting. It’s one thing I’ve been building towards in all the things I’ve tried to learn through my time here,” he said. “I always kind of envisioned myself taking over my own newsroom, and I look forward to some of the challenges that we face.”

A native of Montezuma in southwest Kansas, McQueen also holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Fort Hays State University and completed graduate-level studies.

He will continue to serve as the sports editor and assist with all aspects of newsroom production, including copy editing, photography and reporting. He had been serving as the interim managing editor for the last few months.

“I love The Hays Daily News and the work we do here in this community, and it just never felt like I really wanted to leave. This feels like home to me,” McQueen said. “Mainly because of the people I work with — both inside the office and out.”

McQueen acknowledged newspapers are facing growing challenges, but said he is looking forward to meeting any adversity head-on. Ultimately, he said, he still firmly believes in the quality, accuracy and depth of newspaper coverage.

“One of the reasons I’ve stuck with newspaper journalism is because there is a lot of so-called news out there, through social media and whatever else,” he said. “And the good thing about newspapers is the people are trained to filter through all that stuff for the reader.”