Family Tradition Will Continue in Watertown, SDBack to News

United Communications, Corp. of Kenosha, Wisconsin purchased the Watertown (SD) Public Opinion at the end of February. The Public Opinion is the third daily the company owns, joining the flagship Kenosha (WI) News and Attleboro (MA) Sun Chronicle. United also owns weekly newspapers around Kenosha and Attleboro and television stations in Mankato, Minnesota and Watertown, New York.

The Public Opinion is a 13,600-circulation daily published Monday through Saturday. The 115-year old newspaper had been owned by the Way and Lowrie families for 92 years. Steven Lowrie, third generation president and publisher of the Public Opinion Co., characterized the transaction as one family selling to another.

Howard J. Brown, president of United Communications Corp., said that his company intends to maintain the family tradition. Although Steven Lowrie will be leaving the market to pursue other opportunities, his 94-year-old grandfather makes his full time residence in Watertown and will continue to have his office at the Public Opinion.

In keeping with a desire to build on local continuity, United Communications hired Watertown native Mark S. Roby as publisher. Roby, who had been publisher for Lee Enterprises in Muscatine, Iowa, was a carrier at the Public Opinion and then a part-time sports reporter before beginning his newspaper career. Roby’s father, Joseph, served as the business manager of the Public Opinion from 1960 to 1991 and continues to live in Watertown.

United Communications dates back to 1961 when the Brown family purchased the Kenosha News. The company acquired the Attleboro (MA) Sun in 1970 and then two years later merged with the daily North Attleboro Chronicle.