Ownership of the newspaper publications of the Morris Publishing Group, including the Athens Banner-Herald, transferred to GateHouse Media yesterday. The signing of a purchase agreement had been previously announced.
The sale includes 10 other daily newspapers and many non-daily publications.
GateHouse Media is one of the largest publishers of locally-based media in the United States, publishing 125 daily newspapers and hundreds of community publications.
“We’re proud to join one of America’s strongest media companies, and one committed to local journalism and serving local communities,” said Banner-Herald and OnlineAthens publisher Scot Morrissey. “Being a part of GateHouse Media will help us in our mission to continue to serve our communities for decades to come.”
GateHouse Media places a high priority on journalism and numerous company newspapers have been recognized with state, regional and national journalism awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
GateHouse Media journalists are dedicated to high-impact reporting, said Bill Church, senior vice president of news. Church cited the Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois, for its series on the state’s dire financial situation, the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio for its extensive exploration into the city’s future, and the Rockford, Illinois, Register Star’s report on segregation in local schools.
“Our journalists are experts at identifying high-touch community issues,” said Church. “With our watchdog mentality, we challenge community leaders and serve as advocates for our readers. This is the journalism we value most, and what you can expect under GateHouse Media leadership.”
This year, GateHouse Media continued its acquisition of newspapers, with an investment of about $160 million, including Dix Communications in Ohio and Calkins Media in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As it grows, the company is committed to maintaining and expanding local and regional coverage of the communities it serves.
The company’s Center for News & Design, based in Austin, Texas, employs more than 240 people and provides design and niche content services for 71 daily and 181 weekly GateHouse Media newspapers, and 11 newspaper partners, including the Dallas Morning News.
Other divisions of GateHouse Media include UpCurve, a leading provider of digital marketing and cloud services to small and mid-sized businesses and BridgeTower Media, publisher of legal, financial, real estate and government affairs journals across more than 20 U.S. markets.
“We’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to uphold the traditions of journalism and community service that the Morris family has shown over the past 72 years,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “We look forward to being an integral part of these communities, and working closely with local businesses.”