The year ended relatively quietly in the U.S. as three daily newspapers got new owners in two transactions. Gannett, however, made a big splash in the UK, agreeing to pay $346 million for a newspaper group in Scotland.
At home, Rust Communications acquired two daily newspapers and associated non-dailies from Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., to augment clusters in Iowa and Indiana.
In Iowa, Rust bought the Spencer Daily Reporter and non-dailies in nearby Spirit Lake and Storm Lake. Earlier in 2002, Rust had acquired the Cherokee (IA) Daily Times from CNHI. The two acquisitions from CNHI, together with Rust’s daily in Le Mars, give the company a large cluster in northwest Iowa.
In Indiana, Rust added the Linton Daily Citizen. Rust also owns dailies in nearby Brazil and Greencastle.
With the two dailies acquired in the fourth quarter, Cape Girardeau-based Rust now owns 16 dailies in six states in the Midwest.
Elsewhere, Steve and Cynthia Haynes bought the Norton (KS) Daily Telegram from local owners. Haynes Publishing announced plans to publish the Telegram three days a week instead of five.
Haynes owns five other Kansas newspapers, including dailies in nearby Colby and Goodland.
Several transactions of note occurred with non-daily newspapers as well.
A subsidiary of Greeneville, Tennessee-based Jones Media acquired three newspapers in western North Carolina -- the Wautauga Democrat in Boone, the Avery Journal, and the Blowing Rocket in Blowing Rock. Earlier in 2002, the company had bought the Mountain Times, also in Boone.
Womack Publishing Co. of Chatham, Virginia, acquired the Independent Messenger, a twice-weekly in Emporia, Virginia, which had been part of a group owned by Hanes Byerly.
Fackelman Newspaper Group bought the Farmerville (LA) Gazette, which is close to the company’s daily in Ruston. Fackelman owns six daily newspapers, a number of non-dailies, and has interests in other daily newspapers.
Journal Register Company continued to expand its greater Philadelphia cluster with the acquisition of seven weekly newspapers in Delaware County owned by Crowe Printers and Publishers. The group, with $1.8 million in revenue, joins a cluster that includes 120 daily and non-daily publications in suburban Philadelphia.
MediaNews Group supplemented its cluster in southwest New Mexico with the addition of the Lordsburg Liberal. MediaNews owns dailies in Silver City, Deming, and Las Cruces in the area.
Elsewhere in New Mexico, publisher Paula Pachorek bought the twice-weekly Raton Range and weekly Trinidad (CO) Plus from her employer, Boone Newspapers. Boone’s holdings are concentrated primarily in the Southeast.
Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc., of Shelbyville, Kentucky, purchased the LaFollette (TN) Press and Leitchfield (KY) Record. The LaFollette Press is the largest weekly newspaper in Tennessee.
Stephens Media Group acquired the Pahrump Valley (NV) Times, a 7,000-circulation twice-weekly west of Las Vegas, from Thurlow Communications. Stephens owns the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal, in addition to a number of other dailies and non-dailies.
Kirk Davis’ Holden Landmark Corp. bought the Community Journal, serving three communities in central Massachusetts. The Holden Landmark circulates in several nearby communities.