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The Faces of the Press & Dakotan – Randy Dockendorf vJeremy Hoeck When Randy Dockendorf was in fifth grade, he and his classmates were asked to write the ‘class news’ for two weeks in the local weekly newspaper. It was tidbits about people and what they were doing, as well as local sports or band results. It provided Dockendorf an opportunity to break the mold. He chose to use more of a storytelling approach than a straightforward news approach. “But people seemed to like it and I enjoyed it, so I kept on writing the column through eighth grade,” Dockendorf said. And ever since, he’s maintained that passion for storytelling. Dockendorf, who grew up in Corsica (40 miles southwest of Mitchell) and graduated from Corsica High School, has served as Regional Editor of the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan since 1993. It was that elementary school experience — and additional writing while in high school — that catapulted Dockendorf into a career as a reporter, but as he pointed out, he very nearly went a different direction while in college. “I took an unusual route into journalism, but I think it served me well,” Dockendorf said. He attended Augustana College (now Augustana University) in Sioux Falls for its health care administration and journalism programs, but in time, those plans changed. “I decided not to enter health administration, so I shifted gears during my final two years,” Dockendorf said. He eventually graduated from Augustana with a business administration degree and a minor in communications, but very nearly earned a minor in journalism, history and religion. While a student at Augustana, Dockendorf served three years as a staff writer for the campus newspaper, the Mirror, and also worked for the campus yearbook and campus radio station. Early in his career, he freelanced as a reporter for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the Mitchell Daily Republic and the Hansen-Anderson basketball magazine. It was all valuable experience for an aspiring professional reporter, but Dockendorf said his religion courses at Augustana were especially crucial for him. During one January interim period, he took a course in Judaism which included a week in the Twin Cities, complete with a Sabbath dinner and a bar mitzvah. His other January interim courses included a month in England and two other courses with a week each in the Twin Cities. “Those experiences really broadened my horizons and helped me understand others,” Dockendorf said, “particularly for me coming from a small rural South Dakota community.” After college graduation, Dockendorf was offered the opportunity to work on a special anniversary edition for his hometown newspaper, vDOCKENDORF continued on page 20 ou Covered” “ We’ve Got Y 1600 Whiting Dr., Yankton, SD (605)857-1472 ROOFS • GUTTERS SIDING • AND MORE • NO OBLIGATION Inspection & Estimate • Family Owned–Locally Operated • Licensed / Bonded / Insured HISVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018v13

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