The New Albany Gazette has been purchased by Journal, Inc. of Tupelo, which publishes the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and a number of community newspapers.
The sale of the newspaper by Landmark Community Newspapers was announced to Gazette employees Friday, Oct. 19, and Journal Inc. took ownership at midnight Friday. All of the Gazette’s 14 employees were converted to employees of Journal Inc. at that time.
The sales price of the paper was not disclosed.
Clay Foster, chief executive officer, president and publisher of Journal, Inc., said in a meeting with the Gazette staff that the newspaper would continue to be published twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday.
“We at Journal, Inc. are excited about the opportunity to be the new owner of the Gazette. Union County is an economically healthy community in the heart of our primary market area making the Gazette a great fit for our company,” Foster said.
“The team at the Gazette is experienced and passionate about providing quality products and services to the citizens of Union County that are relevant and affect Union Countians lives personally,” he added.
Foster said, “We continue to invest in papers like the Gazette because we believe there is continuing value in the local publishing model, and with our existing operations throughout Northeast Mississippi, we’re convinced we can bring economies of scale and enhanced management to both print and digital publishing operations of the Gazette.”
Foster stressed that “returning the Gazette to local ownership is important because we believe that locally owned newspapers can best reflect the values and serve the interests of the people of any community.
“A distinguishing characteristic of our newspapers is the commitment to serve the information needs of the community, and we look forward to working with the team at the Gazette as we seek new ways to serve our readers and advertisers and strengthen the local community,” Foster said.
Foster said the company believes so strongly that the future is bright for newspapers that it has invested in a new high-technology press to print its products.
All of the stock of Journal Inc. is owned by the CREATE Foundation, a public charitable corporation based in Tupelo, but with affiliates in other counties, including UNITE in Union County.
Landmark, based in Shelbyville, Ky., which operates more than 50 newspapers, owned the Gazette 34 years. The company bought the paper in October 1979 from Bill Rutledge, a New Albany lawyer. The Rutledge family had been associated with the Gazette since the 1930s.
Present at the Gazette for the sale announcement were Michael G. Abernathy, Landmark Community Newspapers president, and Dan Sykes, executive vice president.
Abernathy told employees that because the Daily Journal operates in the market next to New Albany, the company had been trying to buy the Gazette for many years.
“The paper is a very good fit for Tupelo,” he said, adding that because the Gazette was the only paper Landmark owned in Mississippi, it was difficult to have synergy with the company’s other papers.
“The Gazette plays an important role serving the community of Union County,” Abernathy said. “We wish the fine employees associated with the Gazette much success in the future.”
In addition to the newspaper, which will observe its 125th anniversary next May, and its online edition, the Gazette publishes the Gazette Guide, The Advertiser, Mississippi Homes, and two glossy magazines, Explore, an annual tourism and marketing magazine, and New Albany, a twice-a-year city magazine.