Texas Community Media to acquire 14 East Texas Newspapers from ASP WestwardBack to News

HOUSTON, TX – May 31, 2012 – A new company, Texas Community Media LLC, announced Wednesday it has reached an agreement to purchase the Longview News-Journal, Marshall News Messenger and a related group of East Texas weekly newspapers from ASP Westward.   

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger and acquisition firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented ASP Westward in the transaction. 

The Longview News-Journal, with a daily paid circulation of more than 23,000, is the flagship newspaper of the East Texas group.  In addition, the purchase includes a smaller nearby daily, The Marshall News Messenger, and 12 paid-circulation weekly newspapers.   The purchase price was not disclosed.

The principal investors in Texas Community Media are members of the families that have owned and operated the Victoria Advocate, Texas’ second-oldest daily newspaper, for three generations. Stephen McHaney, who has been co-publisher of the Advocate, is president of the new company.

The deal, expected to close soon, reflects the continued strength of community newspapers and their websites, McHaney said.

 “We know how much community newspapers contribute to bringing a local community together," he said.  “While this may mark a new beginning for our company, our focus will remain on providing consistently high quality and superb value to the readers and advertisers and we will continue the long tradition of strong service throughout our local communities”.

The weekly newspapers in the group are the Atlanta Citizens Journal, Big Sandy/Hawkins Journal, Bowie County Citizens Tribune/DeKalb News, Cass County Sun, Daingerfield Bee, Gladewater Mirror, Grand Saline Sun, Lindale News & Tribune, Mineola Monitor, Panola Watchman, Pittsburgh Gazette and Wood County Democrat.  Together, the daily and weekly newspapers, along with their online products, reach over 200,000 consumers each week.

"We were attracted to these local media companies because of how well they are run and how well they serve their communities," McHaney said.  "Our goal is to be more focused than ever on connecting with our communities.  Today’s acquisition is a first step in the process of ensuring the future of these distinguished print and online brands as they adapt to the rapidly transforming media landscape.  We are confident local ownership will strengthen both of these areas."

ASP Westward CEO Jim Hopson said he felt confident in the future of the newspapers now under the ownership of Texas Community Media.

"We are pleased a company with such a respected reputation and record were the winning bidders," Jim Hopson said.  "Texas Community Media brings a vast knowledge of Texas and of community newspapers to the table."

McHaney will move with his family from Victoria to Longview and assume the role of News-Journal publisher.  “I look forward to working closely with the many talented people at these newspapers and getting involved in the East Texas community,” McHaney said.  He will step down as co-publisher of the Advocate.