Thom Fladung serves as vice president for Hennes Communications. He brings more than 33 years of daily newspaper and digital media experience to the agency, having served as a top editor at some of the nation’s largest newspapers such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Detroit Free Press. Over the past decade, Fladung has also played a lead role in evolving newsrooms into the digital age. His work at the Plain Dealer was instrumental in the newspaper’s migration to digital platforms, including web, social media and handheld digital devices.
Fladung is expert at crafting effective, strategic messages on hard deadlines. He is also experienced at quickly evaluating, assembling and disseminating information – crisis management skills that are critically important for clients coping with reputation management issues and breaking crises.
He is intimately familiar with the relentless content requirements of the 24/7 news cycle, and understands the necessity and nuances of communicating on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. He recognizes the crucial role social media plays as a first alert for many consumers of information and as a place where reputations can be bolstered – or blistered.
Fladung has overseen newsrooms of more than 300 journalists and has directed dozens of award-winning investigations, breaking-news stories, human interest stories and features. Highlights include helping direct six journalists reporting from the Iraq war after the invasion in 2003 for the Detroit Free Press; leading coverage during the Northeast blackout of 2003 in Detroit, and getting the newspaper out with no power; and overseeing coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse of 2007 while serving as editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
In his role as a lead editor, Fladung has also been responsible for managing the reputation of the many news organizations he has led, frequently serving as their ambassador for public speaking engagements, and serving as one of the first points of contact for customers.
Most recently, Fladung served as managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland starting in February 2011, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom. Prior to that, he was editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, managing editor of the Detroit Free Press and managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal. He has also held a variety of editing and reporting positions at those and other newspapers and has reported on business, politics, state government, crime and courts and sports.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Fladung is a graduate of the University of Dayton. He is a current board member of the Press Club of Cleveland and served on the board of the Ohio Newspaper Association. He has served on a number of other boards, including Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Columbia, S.C.; Christ Child House in Detroit; the Minnesota News Council.