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Small dailies owned by families in Indiana and Kansas were sold in recent days -- in on case to a member of the incumbent family and in the other to a descendant of a historic newspaper owner. Also in newspaper-related mergers and acquisitions, The New York Times Co. said on Friday it had acquired the digital marketing agency HelloSociety LLC.

In Indiana, a member of the Williams family and his wife stepped up to buy the Warsaw Times-Union from the rest of the family members. In January, the Williams family -- which dates its ownership of the Times-Union back to the 1850s -- said it was putting the paper up for sale.

Chandler Williams and Erin Williams were named as the new owners on Wednesday. No terms for the deal were given. "As a lifelong Warsaw resident, I am pleased to support Warsaw through continued quality journalism in our community's only local daily newspaper," Erin Williams said.

In Kansas, the great-grandson of the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor William Allen White has acquired the Junction City Daily Union, the daily Abilene Reflector-Chronicle and the weekly Wamego Smoke Signal from Montgomery Communications. Once again, no financial details were provided.

Chris Walker of the White Corp., publisher of the legendary editor's Emporia Gazette, took over the three titles on March 1. John Montgomery, the fourth-generation owner and publisher of the Junction City and Abilene titles, is retiring but will retain an office at the papers and help with the transition.

Walker and his wife Ashley have been running the Emporia paper for more than 20 years and they also own three weeklies in Kansas and one in Colorado.

Citing a desire to "accelerate" its T Brand Studio -- an in-house agency that creates "sponsored content" or advertorials -- The Times Co. said it bought HelloSociety in an all-cash deal with Science Inc., which founded the Santa Monica, Calif.-based agency in 2012.

According to Advertising Age, The Times Co.'s Mark Thompson told a crowd at Austin, Texas' South-by-Southwest festival on Friday that HelloSociety would be run as an independent unit and remain in California.

"HelloSociety also has a lot of very loyal clients who are not currently, but who we would very much like to become, clients of the New York Times," the magazine quoted Thompson as saying. "We have a body of clients, who we could potentially introduce to HelloSociety."

In other Times Co. news, Ad Age reported earlier last week that the paper has begun experimenting with various strategies to prevent readers from blocking digital ads.

"The best things in life aren't free," said a screen shot the magazine said came from a Times Co. web page that was accessed by a browser with ad-blocking software installed.

The paper said it was testing "various approaches" to ad blocking, which would address both subscribers and non-subscribers.

Also last week, the Alliance for Audited Media (once known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations) of Arlington Heights, Ill., said it has a three-point plan to provide advertisers with more information about media, including an "ad-block gauge." The non-profit cooperative owned by advertisers, their agencies and publishers, said its new system will allow "premium publishers" to show ad buyers more information, including an overall "brand view" and a "site certifier."

Times Co. shares gained 1.2 percent last week, with Friday's close at $12.90.

As a counterpoint to all those recent corporate newspaper acquisitions, it's nice that family ownership continues in these Midwestern communities.
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Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Mar 14, 2016

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