Recently retired from The Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, David Braton served the Cedar Valley as publisher of The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier from 2008-2016. As an accomplished newspaper executive with nearly 45 years in the business, Dave displayed a strong passion for community involvement wherever he went.
That quickly became apparent during his stint in the Cedar Valley. “I don’t think I have ever seen anyone come to the Cedar Valley and get so quickly and effectively involved as Dave Bratton. Dave quickly mastered the workings of the Courier and then hit the streets meeting individuals and groups to find out where he and the Courier could lend a hand. It didn’t take him long to have a grasp on what needed to be worked on to better the whole community and where he could help. If you wanted to know what was really happening in the community, Dave was the one to go to since he always had his eyes and ears open to everyone and everything.” Commented Rick Young.
As former chairman of the board for the Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber. Within the Alliance, Braton led a capital campaign, put the Leader in Me youth leadership initiative at the forefront of the organization’s efforts and helped develop the Inclusion and Cedar Valley Region publications greatly aiding workforce development. “It’s hard to think of another person who has had more of an impact on our community in such a short time as Dave,” said Steve Dust, executive director of the Alliance. “It’s totally because of his entire commitment to make lives better.”
He invested six years with the Cedar Valley United Way as a member of the board of directors, and was a campaign co-chair for its annual campaign. He led an initiative to cultivate young business leaders’ involvement within the Alliance and he championed the Northeast Iowa Food Bank’s move to a new building in 2013. Dave served as chair of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra’s board of directors, was a member of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union Advisory Board, vice president of the Iowa Newspaper Association and is former president of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.
Dave believes a newspaper should seek roles to lead in the community – whether that is with an editorial, fundraising or leading the charge for economic development initiatives and partnerships. Tara Seible, advertising director for Courier Communications, said: “Dave is tireless in his efforts to build bridges in our community and relentless in his involvement in numerous community organizations,” she said. “His mornings often begin before dawn as he meets with key community leaders for coffee; and his evenings are often occupied with board meetings and other key community events.”
Being a publisher of a newspaper over the past decade has meant finding efficiencies as well as growth opportunities. Cutting costs was inevitable, but he also put time and money into new growth, including several niche publications that served both the interests of The Courier and its advertisers.
“Dave has elevated this newspaper in the community in ways it never was before. His respect is immense in this community, by his co-workers as well as community leaders.”, said Nancy Raffensperger Newhoff, The Courier’s managing editor
Rick Young remarks, “Dave is one of the few people I have known who always treated everyone and everything in a dignified and gentlemanly manor. I never saw him waiver from his strong Christian values of treating everyone with respect and consideration. He works hard at refining his religious beliefs and he lives those teachings as well as anyone I know. He is the kind of person you want as a leader in your community, as a boss or as a friend – they don’t get much better than Dave Bratton.”
He and his wife, Cheryl, have three adult children.