Leader Publications welcomes new reporter to staff

Published 3:18 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021

NILES — A new face is joining Leader Publications’ news team.

Ryan Yuenger, 33, of St. Joseph, recently joined the Leader Publications staff as a news reporter primarily serving the Dowagiac community. Current Dowagiac reporter Maxwell Harden will be stepping up to cover the Niles and Buchanan communities.

Yuenger grew up in Dexter, Michigan before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University. Though he did not study journalism, Yuenger has had his hands in a newspaper for much of his career, starting out writing for his high school newspaper, the Squall. Later, he interned at the Rapidian, a community-sourced media company in Grand Rapids. Since then, he has covered high school sports for MLive, as well as done page layout and design with the Big Rapids Pioneer. Most recently, he worked as a page designer for the Herald-Palladium.

“My interest in being a reporter initially stemmed from wanting to have a steady job in the writing field,” Yuenger said. “However, once I got a taste of all that reporting entailed – learning about and interacting with the community, telling people’s stories through words and pictures, and occasionally making a positive difference in the community – I felt it was the natural position for me.”

Now working in a community newsroom, Yuenger believes he will be doing important work as Dowagiac’s community news reporter.

“Community newspapers are important because they have their finger on the pulse of the community in a way that national media, and even local television stations do not,” he said. “Oftentimes, we live among you, know you personally and have a vested interest in providing you with the relevant information you need on a daily basis. I believe community newspapers are a right of the people, and we have a responsibility to inform you with facts and interesting stories that enhance your way of life.”

Already, Yuenger has begun to get to know the Dowagiac community and said he is excited to continue telling its residents’ stories.

“What makes me passionate about community news is simply getting out there and telling people’s stories in an interesting way. I strongly believe that every community has thousands of great stories to tell,” he said. “Since I am new to this community, I am most looking forward to learning about all the area has to offer. From interacting with the people to experiencing the natural beauty of the area, I am excited to capture everything I can from every possible perspective.”

When Yuenger is not typing the next day’s headlines, he can be found outdoors or listening to music.

“In my free time, I try to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible,” he said. “During the 2020 quarantine, I built a backyard garden for growing food. I have successfully harvested many potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, black raspberries, beets and many herbs. I also try to get out to the local state park dunes every chance I get. My biggest passion is listening to and experiencing music. I generally try to attend as many concerts as possible throughout the year, as well as attend a couple summer camping festivals every year.”