Russel Gruber has been promoted as publisher for the Alice Echo-News Journal. He has held several positions for the community paper including advertising director and recently operations manager.
“It’s a honor to be selected as the Alice Echo-News Journal publisher. Coming from a small community in Louisiana, I know how important the community newspaper is for its readers,” Gruber said. “I will strive to bring our readers a fair and impartial newspaper that our town will be proud of.”
Gruber's predecessor, Regional Publisher Gerard Delaney, resigned and is in the process of moving back to Atlanta to be closer to family.
At the age of 15, Gruber started selling ads and took sports photos for his high school newspaper, Drag - On. Gruber said in high school he was a shy kid.
“I was shy because I stuttered,” he said. “And I used (sales) to help me overcome it.”
He credits sophomore teacher, Beth Atkins, for instilling confidence in him.
In his professional career, Gruber worked for Beauregard Daily News in Louisiana until he enlisted in the Coast Guard. After being honorably discharged, Publisher Ofelia Hayes, a local publisher, called Gruber to offer him classified ad position on February 15, 1983.
He also worked with a military duo newspaper and later with Stephenville Empire-Tribune as an advertising director. Under Publisher Tony Morris, Gruber was hired as classified director and auto dealer sales. He worked for a short period in Plano and returned to the Coastal Bend with the Caller-Times as sales executive. He won several awards as Top Sales in 2001 and 2003.
About 2004, Gruber returned back to the Alice Echo-News Journal as an advertising director.
Gruber is married to Gracie Gruber and has a step-daughter Ariana Munoz. He has been a volunteer fireman and earned his firefighter 2 certification from Louisiana State University. He was also a reserve deputy in Louisiana.
He enjoys his pets, especially Bumper (blind cat) and cycling. Bumper even has his own Facebook page.
Gruber said the Alice Echo-News Journal staff is the reason for the success of the newspaper.
“We are a family, we're a team,” he said. “We pride ourselves to our community involvement.”