Industry news

News about and of interest to Texas Newspapers

ACQUISITIONS

Hereford Brand closure averted when Blackmons take over
HEREFORD – Less than a week after its closure was announced, the Hereford Brand was back in publication with new owners.
Roberts Publishing announced the 118-year-old newspaper’s closing in the Feb. 2 edition, citing dwindling advertising sales, diminishing circulation and the need for new technology. 
After hearing the news, former Brand sports editor Jeff Blackmon and his wife Angela on Feb. 5 agreed to purchase the newspaper and continue to publish the semi-weekly product.
Blackmon said he was newly graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1999 when he and his wife first moved to Hereford, where he served as sports editor for more than a year under former publisher Mauri Montgomery.
Since leaving the Brand in 2001, Blackmon has gone on to own the Wellington Leader (2006-08), The Castro County News in Dimmitt (2011-14), The County-Star News in Shamrock (2012-present), The Texas Spur (2016-18) and The Swisher County News in Tulia (2013-present).
“From the first day I worked at the Hereford Brand, I have always had a special place in my heart for the newspaper and the community,” Blackmon said. 
“A community losing its newspaper is a tragedy, and we are glad to step in to own it and operate it. Our goal from day one is to earn the trust of the Brand’s faithful readers and publish a paper everyone in the community will be proud of.”
The Brand had been owned by Roberts Publishing, Inc., of Andrews since the 1950s.

Wood County Monitor changes hands
MINEOLA – Phil and Lesa Major have purchased the Wood County Monitor, taking over operations on Jan. 1.
Former Publisher Joyce Hathcock retired in December, ending a 36-year career with the newspaper, previously known as the Mineola Monitor. Hathcock started with the newspaper in 1981 in advertising sales, working for former Publisher Dan Peacock. She learned all aspects of the operation and later became business manager. Working with J. Tom Graham in the 1990s, she became publisher and eventually oversaw newspapers in Quitman, Grand Saline and Lindale, in addition to Mineola.
Hathcock received the Sam C. Holloway Award from the North and East Texas Press Association in 2008 for her longtime contributions to community newspapers. During her tenure, the newspaper won numerous press association awards.
The Majors operate the Wood County Monitor independently as their own publication. Phil Major is publisher and Lesa Major is business manager. Their son, Sam, handles graphic design, photography and technology for the newspaper.
The Majors have previously owned The Clay County Leader in Henrietta and most recently worked for The Kaufman Herald.
Phil Major is a former president of Texas Press Association as well as the North and East Texas Press Association. The Majors have been active in both groups for many years.
They have also been active in civic and church groups and other organizations. 
“We are excited to return to community newspaper ownership,” Phil Major said. “And we are especially excited to be in Wood County, an area we have been visiting for many years.”

INDUSTRY NEWS

Texas newspapers join others dropping Non Sequitur comic
Texas newspapers joined others across the country in dropping a syndicated comic after a profane message appeared in the comic strip on Sunday, Feb. 10.
The Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Waco Tribune-Herald were among the newspapers dropping the Non Sequitur comic distributed by Andrews McMeel. The cartoon’s editors failed to see the obscene message before sending it out. The cartoonist, Wiley Miller, has since apologized for inserting the profane message to President Donald Trump in the Sunday strip, which is syndicated separately from Non Sequitur’s weekday strip. 
According to Andrews McMeel, more than 700 newspapers across the country were subscribing to the strip before the incident and an “unspecified number” have since stopped running the strip, including the Kansas City Star, Cincinnati Enquirer, Arizona Daily Star and  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“We view the author’s action as a breach of our trust and our readers’ trust,” Austin American-Statesman Managing Editor John Bridges wrote.
“We support the cartoonist’s freedom of speech, but his actions violated Caller-Times standards,” wrote Tim Archuleta, editor of the Corpus Christi newspaper.

Wood County Democrat changes publication days
MINEOLA – The Wood County Monitor is now published on Thursdays rather than Wednesdays.
Owner and Publisher Phil Major said the new press schedule benefits both readers and advertisers. Previously, with deadlines on Friday, anything that came up over the weekend was difficult to get into the current edition, he added. Coverage of news events occurring on Monday nights, such as important school board and city council meetings and basketball playoffs, can be published the same week. In addition, marketing staff can work with advertisers throughout the day on Monday.

Laredo Morning Times plans to sell building, relocate offices
LAREDO — The Laredo Morning Times building is up for sale as part of plans to relocate to smaller, more efficient facilities.
The Times has been located at 111 Esperanza Dr. for 47 years. The building once housed printing and mailing operations along with newsroom and business operations. In 2009, printing was consolidated in San Antonio and Houston. As a result, the newspaper requires less space, according to Publisher Bill Green.
Green said a real estate brokerage firm focused on industrial and commercial properties has listed the property, and prospective buyers have expressed interest. The company hopes to sell the current facilities and relocate to a smaller location in the same area by the end of the year.

Herald-Banner  shifts to five days per week, postal delivery
GREENVILLE – On March 1, the Herald-Banner moved from newspaper carrier delivery to U.S. Postal Service delivery and shifted from six to five editions per week.
Publisher Lisa Chappell announced the changes in a column, noting that subscribers would continue to receive each edition on the day it is published. At the same time, the newspaper combined the Saturday and Sunday editions into an expanded weekend publication. The newspaper now publishes Tuesday through Saturday.
“Today, our audience is larger than ever as we provide our news via print, on the web and on social media,” Chappell wrote. “In the past 12 months, visitors to Herald-Banner.com have viewed over 3.3 million pages on our website. This newspaper reached over a million people on Facebook last year, and our Twitter news updates reached just over 400,000 people. There are many ways in which you all connect with us and keep up with your community through our content.
We see you. We hear you.
And we appreciate you.”

ANNIVERSARIES

Houston County Courier marks 130th anniversary with series
CROCKETT – The Houston County Courier is marking 130 years of news coverage and advertising services to Houston County by featuring items from the newspaper’s files presented as “a decade of news” each month, beginning with 1890.
The series of commemorative pages began Jan. 31 when the newspaper featured an editorial and an illustration from the first edition of the Crockett Weekly Courier, published Jan. 31, 1890, by W.B. Page, editor, and Samuel Patton, printer. The proprietors announced the newspaper’s commitment to the economic advancement of Crockett and Houston County during “this era of advancement and progress in East Texas.”
“We are not of those who think that the prime object and mission of a newspaper are necessarily political,” Page wrote. “Neither do we believe that political issues, party principles, and party methods should be ignored but in this day of phenomenal material development we can but conclude that there are other topics for newspaper discussion and other avenues in which its influence and usefulness may be employed...”
The newspaper owners also announced “The Courier and all the work of the job office will be turned out by steam power. This is rather an expensive venture, but we believe the business men and the reading public will appreciate enterprise and substantially encourage it by advertising and subscribing liberally.”

White Deer News celebrating 60th anniversary this month
WHITE DEER - The White Deer News is marking 60 years of publication in March.
Editor Chelly Helms outlined the newspaper’s history in a column.
Predecessors of the News were the White Deer Review, published from the 1920s through 1945, and the Carson County Review, which published from 1946 until 1949. 
There had been no local newspaper for a decade when M.B. Cavanaugh and his wife came to White Deer from Silverton and began publishing the White Deer News in 1959. Shortly thereafter, the weekly newspaper was purchased by Joe Miller, who moved his family from Oklahoma to White Deer and began publishing the newspaper on Aug. 2, 1961.
At that time, the newspaper was produced with a 1929 Linotype, an open hand-fed job press and a six-cylinder flatbed printing press, which printed four pages at a time on 24-inch by 36-inch newsprint. 
In 1971, the Millers took over the Panhandle Herald. In the mid-1980s, the Millers invested in Palo Duro Printing in Canyon, along with five other Texas Panhandle publishers. The plant printed many area newspapers before it was sold to the Hereford Brand and the White Deer News, and the Panhandle Herald went to the Borger News for printing.
Joe Miller ran the newspapers until 1996, when his son Rodney took over as general manager. In 2009, Shaun and Frank Wink purchased both newspapers. They continue to publish the local newspapers weekly, except for a combined Christmas edition each year. The papers are now printed by Community Printing in Shamrock. Online editions are also available to subscribers.
“Our papers have been described as stepping back in time, where everyone cares about everyone else and takes an interest in others’ lives … friendly and welcoming … something they look forward to receiving in the mail each week,” Helms wrote.

Greenville Herald-Banner marks 150th anniversary in 2019 
GREENVILLE - The Herald-Banner announced a year-long celebration of the newspaper’s 150th anniversary this year.
The newspaper began in 1869 as The Herald, a weekly started by John C. Bayne. Within two years, another publication started and then merged with Bayne’s paper to become the Morning Herald, owned by the W.C. Poole family.
Bayne launched another weekly called the Independent in 1875, which was purchased in 1882 by J.F. Mitchell, who re-named it the Independent Banner. Two years later, under the ownership of R.C. Dial, it became a daily known as the Evening Banner.
The Morning Herald and the Evening Banner both enjoyed large circulation in the boomtown of Greenville. They continued to co-exist and grow as Greenville expanded to more than 14,000 people in 1914. The population remained steady at 14,500 through the mid-1950s.
Changes came to Greenville in 1954 when Harte-Hanks Newspapers, then based in Abilene, purchased the Evening Banner. A fiery cross-town competition ensued until 1956 when Harte-Hanks purchased the Morning Herald and merged the two papers into the Herald-Banner. Since 2000, the Herald-Banner has been owned by CNHI, a network of 114 daily and weekly newspapers in 22 states.