Akron Beacon Journal sold to GateHouse Media

The Akron Beacon Journal’s owner, Black Press Ltd., recently announced the sale of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Akron Beacon Journal and its Ohio.com website to GateHouse Media, which owns multiple publications in Ohio including The Columbus Dispatch and The Canton Repository. Sound Publishing Holdings Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Black Press Ltd., bought the Beacon Journal in 2006.

“We have provided stewardship of the Beacon Journal for the past 11 years and are extremely proud of the quality of journalism and the role the newspaper plays in the community,” said Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Press. “However, the Beacon Journal is geographically located too far from our other publications for us to provide the kind of leadership the paper needs and community deserves.”

Black Press publishes 100 community publications in British Columbia and Alberta, and 63 daily and community publications in Washington, California and Hawaii. He said that Black Press officials, including owner and chairman David Black, who announced the sale, see the Beacon Journal as a perfect fit for New Media’s growing GateHouse Media Ohio group of publications.

Announcement of the sale comes the week before the Beacon Journal’s 179th anniversary. The first edition of the Summit Beacon appeared on April 15, 1839. It merged with the Akron Evening Journal on June 7, 1897, when the first edition of the Akron Beacon Journal rolled off the presses.

The Akron paper was owned by the Knight family for nearly seven decades starting in 1907, and then the Knight Ridder company beginning in 1974. That company sold the Beacon Journal to McClatchy Co. in 2006, which sold it that same year to Black Press of Surrey, British Columbia.

Legendary publisher John S. Knight, whose father, C.L. Knight, owned the paper before him, maintained an office at the Beacon Journal until June 16, 1981. On that day, John Knight found something in the paper he didn’t like and went to the newsroom to ask, “Who edits this newspaper?” He died later that day.

The Beacon won four Pulitzer Prizes between 1968 and 1994, including one in 1971 for its coverage of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University that resulted in four students being killed by Ohio National Guardsmen.

For more information, visit The Columbus Dispatch.

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