Rick Dahl has more than two decades of newspaper experience.
Photo by Melanie Dobson
By David Richards
Rick Dahl's drawing talent began paying dividends in second grade.
"The prettiest girl in class asked me to draw her a deer because she said I was really good at them," Dahl said, graphic designer for the Dodge County Star Herald.
Dahl has been on the job now for the past several months, designing ads and pages for the Star Herald and sometimes the Byron Review, both owned by Community News Corp. He's the guy behind the snazzy cut out teasers that appear on the front page.
"I love how Rick has brought his artistic talent into the newspaper layout," said Melanie Dobson, co-owner of Community News Corp. with husband Larry. "He is also great with people when they come into the office or on the phone. People have commented on how friendly he is."
The 51-year-old Dahl has spent half his life in newspapers and knew he had a gift in kindergarten, when he began drawing things "that actually looked like things."
A graduate of Lake City High School and the Cleveland Institute of Art, Dahl took a job with the Post-Bulletin as a graphic artist and then spent the next 25 years there.
"I think I was just looking for honest work," he said.
Dahl was laid off late last year as a result of still tough economic times and has enjoyed the opportunity to work at the Star Herald.
"There's nothing like being unemployed to make you enjoy your next job," he said.
But actually, Dahl does enjoy it.
He enjoys the small, team atmosphere, and even the chance to interact with subscribers and advertisers who walk through the door.
"I have a deep belief in journalism," he said. "If done right, it's an important service to the community."
In addition to newspapers and drawing, Dahl also enjoys collecting comics, having freshly returned from a convention in Chicago.
A selective collector, Dahl is perfectly content returning with a batmobile toy car and a commemorative t-shirt, one each for him and his wife.
And his tastes in movies and fashion have more variety than concession stands at the state fair.
"My favorite movie is a tie between Blade Runner and Casablanca," said Dahl, who is just as comfortable wearing a suit as he is an X-Men t-shirt.
He is also a person who enjoys giving back.
On his birthday, which happens to fall on Sept. 11 for instance, it's not about himself, but about others.
"I try to do something not for me, but for other people," he said. "I'm not a church goer, but I have my beliefs, and I believe in helping other people and not mentioning it."
So, Mr. Dahl, what types of ways do you help others?
"And not mentioning it," he repeated.
Dahl 's tenure at the Post-Bulletin included court-room illustrations for a high-profile murder case and the mapping of a nearby cave wrapped in secrecy.
At the Star Herald, Dahl continues his newspaper career and his devotion for doing what's right for the benefit of others.
"Rick is easy to work with and can be relied on to make sure a project is done right," Larry Dobson said.
Dahl also recently put together a nice, animal illustration for the paper.