With roots in their communities, local newspaper owners find ways to flourish and prosper

As consolidation of newspapers become more commonplace, another reality begins to emerge—a decline in local ownership.

This year has been particularly hard for many longtime newspaper families, with a number of them selling to larger regional chains and corporations. In March, the Randall family announced the sale of the Frederick (Md.) News-Post to Ogden Newspapers, headquartered in West Virginia. The family had owned the paper since 1883. A few months later, the Antelope Valley Press in Palmdale, Calif. was sold to a new entity called Antelope Valley Press Inc., led by Canadian newspaper executive Steven Malkowich. In that case, the paper had been family-owned for more than 100 years. William Markham, former publisher and co-owner of the Valley Press, said in a statement that “now is the time for our family to make way for others with greater resources than ours.” And just last month, the family-owned Morris Publishing Group sold 11 of its daily and non-daily newspaper holdings to GateHouse Media.

Despite these changes, Dirks, Van Essen & Murray recently reported that 82 daily newspapers that have been owned for more than 100 years still remain in business, the majority of which are family-owned.

E&P spoke to a few community newspaper leaders to get their perspective (for some of them, newspapers continue to be a family affair). While undoubtedly operating with fewer resources than a large media corporation, these publications are critically important in today’s world and serve as the backbone for the industry as a whole.

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