Industry News

Moser Community Media acquires Sulphur Springs News-Telegram
SULPHUR SPRINGS – Hopkins County Publishing, LLC, has acquired the Sulphur Springs News-Telegram, Country World, Down Home East Texas and the Hopkins County Neighbors publications from Southern Newspapers, Inc.
Hopkins County Publishing, LCC, is part of Moser Community Media, which owns the Mount Pleasant Tribune in Titus County and other newspapers in Northeast Texas.
Don Moore serves as interim publisher of the News-Telegram, and Terry Erwin joined the staff as general manager and advertising director. Jillian Smith, who has served the newspaper for the past two years, continues as managing editor.
The News-Telegram is one of the oldest newspapers in Texas. Deed records indicate that a newspaper was being published in Hopkins County as early as 1854. Another newspaper, the Echo, was founded by Ezra Tate in 1878 as a competitor to the Gazette. Mergers and acquisitions of newspapers in Hopkins County continued until 1951, when ECHO Publishing Co. purchased the publication and kept the name the News-Telegram. 
In 2017, owner Scott Keys sold the newspaper to Southern Newspapers, Inc. SNI ran the newspapers until April 30.
Moser Community Media manages 34 newspapers across Texas and is heavily invested in the Northeast Texas region, owning the Atlanta Citizens-Journal, The Light and Champion in Center, Cass County Sun in Linden, The Steel Country Bee in Daingerfield, Mount Pleasant Tribune, The Pittsburgh Gazette and the Bowie County Citizens Tribune.

Texas Supreme Court dismisses libel suit against Dallas Morning News
DALLAS – The Texas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of The Dallas Morning News and staff writer Kevin Krause in a libel lawsuit brought by a North Texas drug-compounding business and its founders.
The state’s high court unanimously reversed a judgment by a Fort Worth appeals court and said The News published stories that accurately quoted court documents and didn’t report that the pharmacies were “actually guilty of anything.”
The justices directed the trial court to dismiss the case and award legal fees to The News.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2016 by RXpress Pharmacies and Xpress Compounding, owned by Fort Worth pharmacist Lewis Hall and his son Richard Hall. 
In Parker County District Court, they sought $50 million in damages for what they said were libelous and defamatory statements in The News’ stories that harmed their business and reputations. The stories by Krause quoted court filings that accused the pharmacy of paying illegal kickbacks to physicians for writing prescriptions and said that it was the subject of a federal health care fraud investigation. RXpress insisted that it was not under federal investigation. 
“We pursued this story in good faith and with an eye toward the public interest,” said Mike Wilson, editor of The News. “The court agreed that our reporting was based on court filings and strong, thorough sourcing.”

Former Dallas Morning News building sold to developer
DALLAS – A. H. Belo Corporation has sold the former downtown campus of The Dallas Morning News for $28 million to local developer and co-owner of Highland Park Village Ray Washburne.
The eight-acre campus includes two buildings that total about 325,000 square feet, plus a parking garage.
The building was designed by noted architect George Dahl and will be the fourth local building by the architect that Washburne has owned.
Washburne said plans for development include retaining the former DMN building’s standout feature, the Rock of Truth, a three-story inscription in stone of a credo about journalism fairness and integrity by George Bannerman Dealey, who in 1885 became the first publisher of The News.
The News building opened in 1949 and was occupied by the newspaper until December 2017, when the company moved to the old Dallas Public Library building, also downtown.
The News building had been marketed since February of last year, and one purchase fell through in December.
The total value of the transaction, including quarterly interest payments to A. H. Belo and savings from no longer owning the building, is about $31.6 million.

Journalism educators group cites Westlake principal
WESTLAKE – Westlake High School Principal Steve Ramsey was named administrator of the year by the Texas Association of Journalism Educators.
He was nominated by WHS journalism teacher and student newspaper advisor Deanne Brown and the editors of the the school’s online newspaper, the Featherduster.
In their nomination letter, the student editors praised Ramsey’s support for journalistic freedom. The contest judges also noted they were impressed by Ramsey’s trust in student journalists, even when they dealt with controversial issues.

Kerrville Times launches redesigned website
KERRVILLE – The Kerrville Daily Times recently launched a redesigned website.
Managing Editor Travis Webb said the redesign focused on becoming more user friendly with easier navigation. Reflecting changes in technology, the new website has also been optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, the updated software behind the new site gives Kerrville Daily Times staff members a wider variety of options for displaying content.

LaVernia News, Wilson County News combine offices
FLORESVILLE – The La Vernia News business office is now operating jointly with its sister newspaper, the Wilson County News in the downtown Floresville office.
The newspaper’s full range of services, classified ads, printing and copying, faxing and other business services, are available at the new location, 1012 C St., Floresville, according to the announcement published May 16. News contact phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.

Polk County Enterprise raises single-copy price
LIVINGSTON – Citing rising operating costs, the Polk County Enterprise has increased its single-copy price from 50 cents to 75 cents.
In announcing the price change, General Manager Kelli Barnes reminds readers that subscribing to their local paper by the year offers the greatest bargain at 28 cents a copy.