Rust Communications Acquires Twice-Weekly in Lewisburg, TNBack to News

LEWISBURG, TN October 4, 2005 – The Hawkins family announced today the sale of the twice-weekly Lewisburg Tribune and Marshall Gazette to Rust Publishing Central TN LLC, publishers of the nearby daily Shelbyville (TN) Times-Gazette. Hugh Jones, publisher and part owner of the Shelbyville daily, will be involved in the same capacity with the acquired operation.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented the Hawkins family in the transaction.

The 5,000-circulation Tribune-Gazette has been in continuous ownership by the Hawkins Family in Lewisburg since 1898. The newspapers, along with the 15,000-circulation Marshall County Shopper, will continue to be family owned after the sale to Rust.

Rex Rust, co-president of Rust Communications, said that he “considers it a compliment that the Hawkins family trusted us to maintain the legacy of the newspapers. I think it helped that they have known Hugh and worked with him for a long time when he was involved in the printing industry. They have also seen the job he has been doing in Shelbyville. Lewisburg and Shelbyville are excellent newspaper markets, and we promise to serve the needs of our readers and advertisers.”

“It was a difficult decision to sell these newspapers,” Tommy Hawkins added, “but the focus of our company has moved toward commercial printing and we did not feel we could give the hometown newspapers the attention they deserve. Hugh Jones will do an excellent job—just as he has since taking over the Shelbyville newspapers. We wanted to choose a company that we knew would take care of our employees while growing the newspapers.”

Rust Publishing is a subsidiary of a family-owned newspaper company, Rust Communications, that has grown from four daily newspapers 12 years ago to 50 in eight states, including 19 daily newspapers (including the Dyersburg (TN) State Gazette). Rust is also part owner of 17 radio stations in Missouri and Illinois. The Rust family, with Jon Rust and Rex Rust as co-presidents and Gary Rust as chairman, owns and operates the company but in turn frequently allows individual publishers to be part owners. Rust Communications is based in Cape Girardeau, MO, where it owns its flagship daily Southeast Missourian