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William D. Behling

Inducted into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2008

William Behling

William Behling spent more than four decades in journalism, working his way up from cub reporter to executive editor at the Beloit Daily News before serving as publisher of the Rhinelander Daily News and later taking the same position in Beloit.

As an editor and a publisher in Beloit and Rhinelander, Behling developed a reputation for fostering hard-hitting reporting, uncompromising accuracy and journalistic integrity. His career spans more than six decades, and in retirement he continues to write a column, contributes significant story ideas and remains an active and trusted adviser to the Beloit Daily News.

He never set out to win accolades from peers in the newspaper industry but he is a man truly all about community newspapers: monitoring every word in his newspapers and involving himself in efforts ranging from charitable causes to economic development and urban renewal. He personifies community journalism.

Behling’s newspaper career began with his Beloit High School newspaper, the Increscent, one of the oldest in Wisconsin. Starting at the Beloit Daily News as a printer’s apprentice in 1946, he jumped at the chance in 1948 to be a cub reporter and worked his way up to become executive editor. In 1973, Behling became publisher of the Rhinelander Daily News but six years later returned to Beloit to become publisher, a position he held for 15 years until he retired from “active duty” in 1994.

As president of the Wisconsin Associated Press editors’ association and as a WNA member publisher, Behling was known as a battler for open government who insisted that government bodies stick to the rules. His newspapers worked to back deserving causes and encourage community progress and well-being. His readers knew their editor and publisher loved his work and his readers, and that he was driven by what he thought was best for his town.

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