Announcements

Jane Katona takes on top News-Journal role as general manager

From an original story by Daytona Beach News-Journal staff.

Jane Katona, former Daytona Beach News-Journal advertising director and current GateHouse vice president of sales for East Florida, was recently named as the paper’s general manager.

Katona will continue to oversee sales across East Florida, in addition to assuming day-to-day responsibilities from News-Journal publisher Bill Offill. Offill will continue to serve as group publisher, overseeing operations of The News-Journal, the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and the St. Augustine Record. He will be moving to Jacksonville to assume direct oversight as publisher of the Florida Times-Union.

“It’s been a privilege to lead The News-Journal for the past five years, to make a home in this vibrant community and work with some of the best employees in the industry,” Offill said. “While I will no longer be living in Volusia County, as group publisher, I’m looking forward to my visits back to the area and am equally excited about the new opportunities in Jacksonville.”

Katona has been serving as vice president of sales, East Florida, since May 2018 and will be adding responsibility for the news, marketing and advertising operations at The News-Journal. She will continue to lead the mission to be the top news source and digital and print advertising platform in Volusia and Flagler counties.

“Jane was the obvious choice for this role, given her knowledge of the market and the high regard with which she is held in the community,” Offill said. “I wouldn’t be able to make this move without knowing The News-Journal, its employees and its readers are in great hands.”

Running her local newspaper is a dream come true for Katona. “I’ve known many of The News-Journal employees for over 20 years. It’s surreal to now have the opportunity to be their leader. I’m truly honored and humbled,” Katona said. “I look forward to working with this dynamic team in our continued commitment to the communities we serve.”

Katona has deep roots in the community, having owned a home in Volusia County for two decades. She previously worked for The News-Journal from 1994 to 2008 and after a brief hiatus, returned as advertising director in May 2015. She and her husband, Steve, have three children, Felicia, Steven and Katie.

Read the original story here.

Bobby Rice named general manager of The Tuscaloosa News

From an original story by Michael James of The Tuscaloosa News.

The Tuscaloosa News has promoted Bobby Rice to general manager. Rice, 50, joined The News in July as advertising director and will continue in that role. As general manager, however, he will be involved in all of the newspaper’s operations.

“I’m honored and humbled to be part of this iconic and award-winning newspaper,” Rice said. “This is a fast-moving and shifting business, but we are as committed as always to delivering quality local journalism across all of our platforms and providing local marketing solutions to our business partners.”

Patrick Dorsey, regional vice president for GateHouse Media, which owns The Tuscaloosa News, said Rice made an immediate, positive impact upon his arrival in Tuscaloosa. “I have known Bobby for many years and have always admired his overall leadership abilities, as well as his strong sales acumen,” Dorsey said. “I was very happy we were able to bring him into GateHouse and to Tuscaloosa, and the results of his hard work over the past few months have validated that decision. Bobby has jumped into the Tuscaloosa community with both feet and I am very confident his leadership will be beneficial to Tuscaloosa and to The Tuscaloosa News for many years to come. I am thrilled we are able to reward him by promoting him to general manager.”

A graduate of Troy University, Rice has extensive experience in newspaper advertising in both sales and managerial roles, and also owned and operated a small business in Pensacola, Florida. He has worked for papers in Florida, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana, including the Montgomery Advertiser and the Dallas Morning News. He accepted the position of advertising director at The Tuscaloosa News after selling his business. “Having owned a business, I have a special appreciation for the challenges our business partners face every day,” Rice said.

“Bobby has demonstrated exceptional leadership since joining our Tuscaloosa News team,” said Jim Doughton, regional publisher for GateHouse Media. “He is an astute advertising professional and a forward-thinking leader who embraces innovation and change. We are extremely pleased to be able to promote someone from our Tuscaloosa staff to general manager to lead this great team.”

Although Rice joined The News this summer, he is no stranger to Tuscaloosa. His father, Bill Rice Sr., played football for coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama from 1958-1961, and his uncle, Bobby Rice, who was married to the former Carolyn Burchfield of Tuscaloosa, was director of athletic facilities at UA for more than 30 years.

Rice said his connections to Tuscaloosa make the opportunity to lead The News especially rewarding.

“Growing up in the state of Alabama, I’ve visited Tuscaloosa often, and I’ve read The Tuscaloosa News my entire life,” Rice said. “Being the youngest of three boys I always thought it was unfair that I got the sports page last. I think about that and smile as I walk past our sports department every morning.”

Rice and his wife, Molly, have two children, Will, 12, and Eleanor, 9.

Read the original story here.

Panama City News Herald, Northwest Florida Daily News recognized for Hurricane Michael coverage

A boat washed ashore near the Panama City Marina after Hurricane Michael on Thursday, October 11, 2018. [JOSHUA BOUCHER/THE NEWS HERALD]

As Florida Panhandle residents continue to deal with the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael, local newsrooms are making sure that readers, watchers and listeners remained informed even when power and communication grids are down.

Reporters at the Panama City News Herald and the Northwest Florida Daily News, as well as those from local television stations, were recently recognized in a CNN story for their use of social media channels to keep audiences up to date on the situation in Panama City.

Daily News reporter Annie Blanks tweeted that her colleagues at the News Herald were still putting out a newspaper despite the damage to their newsrooms and homes and lack of electricity and consistent cellular service.

In an email, Pat Dorsey, regional vice president for GateHouse’s Coastal Publishing Group, explained that though communication was difficult due to lack of phone service, newsrooms were able to coordinate the printing of papers at an alternative press in Montgomery, “There was only one cell phone that would work as all the towers were down, electricity out, etc. Nobody is sure why that phone worked and it could only call out of market, not within. They passed around and used it to keep us update and help coordinate support.”

$10K GateHouse Media sweepstakes winner announced

Gordon and Melissa Girard (center) talk with StarNews employees. (Photo by Terah Wilson, StarNews)

From an original story by StarNews reporter Allison Ballard.

Melissa Girard said she often ignores similar emails. But she didn’t ignore this one.

The GateHouse Media Blockbuster Bucket List Sweepstakes was offering the chance to win everything from a luxurious getaway to $10,000 in cash. So she clicked and she entered. Again and again.

For more than a week, the Oak Island resident had her eye on that $10,000 prize. On Oct. 1, she learned that she won.

“It’s hard to believe,” she said. “It still doesn’t feel real.”

But real it is. On Wednesday, she came to the StarNews’ post-hurricane home in downtown Wilmington to pose with a large check and balloons.

So far, she and her husband, Gordon Girard Jr., have practical plans for the money. Like many others, the couple has been out of work due to Hurricane Florence. They evacuated from Brunswick County to Florence, S.C., to stay with relatives and had a difficult time getting back to the area. Also, due to recent medical issues, Girard hasn’t been able to work at her job behind the front desk of the Ocean Crest Motel in Oak Island. The bills have been piling up.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “This will help out a lot.”

More than 200,000 entries came in to GateHouse newspapers across the country. Other prizes were airfare, tickets and hotel stays for trips to the Super Bowl, a NCAA college football game, the Daytona 500, a Red Sox Baseball game, New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, the 2019 Masters Tournament, a Hawaii vacation, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the South by Southwest Music Festival.

“This was our biggest contest to date where we gave away 10 mega-prizes that are often on folks’ bucket lists,” said Rebecca Capparelli, vice president of promotions for GateHouse Media.

The Bucket List sweepstakes was GateHouse Media’s most successful promotion ever. The cash prize was the most popular answer for people entering the sweepstakes, followed by the Hawaii trip and the Super Bowl trip.

“And best of all, we have many more opportunities for our readers to win coming soon,” Capparelli said.

Read the original story here.

Patrick Dorsey named Austin American-Statesman publisher

Patrick Dorsey

Patrick Dorsey has been named publisher of the Austin American-Statesman, replacing Susie Biehle, who recently announced her retirement. Dorsey will continue in his role as regional vice president of GateHouse Media’s Coastal Publishing Group, which includes the Statesman and more than a dozen newspapers across Florida and Alabama.

“Patrick is one of the strongest publishers in GateHouse. He is a passionate advocate for journalism and an effective champion for his staff,” said Bernie Szachara, president of GateHouse U.S. Newspaper Operations. “He is a strong community leader and a strategic executive who embraces changing business models, which is so critical today.”

Dorsey, a 25-year veteran in the media industry, has spent the last six years as publisher of the Herald-Tribune Media Group in Sarasota, Florida, including the past three as regional vice president of GateHouse Media’s Coastal Publishing Group. During his tenure, the newspaper won numerous national awards including a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, he served as president and publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat for seven years and held various senior-level positions in finance for Gannett for 15 years.

“I am very excited to join the team in Austin. I am committed to delivering quality local journalism across all platforms and providing local marketing solutions to our business partners,” Dorsey said. “To be part of such an iconic, award-winning newspaper is an honor and a privilege.”

GateHouse Florida announces launch of ‘Inside Florida Politics’

GateHouse Florida, a group of major Florida newspapers owned by GateHouse Media, recently announced the creation of a statewide digital political reporting network called Inside Florida Politics anchored by a weekly audio podcast “Inside Florida Politics.”

Combining the reporting of The Palm Beach Post, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Florida Times-Union, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Lakeland Ledger, Gainesville Sun, Ocala Star-Banner, St Augustine Record, Leesburg Daily Commercial, Panama City News Herald and Northwest Florida Daily News, Inside Florida Politics will offer ongoing, in-depth political coverage for the state of Florida.

This lively podcast will be hosted by longtime Palm Beach Post political reporter George Bennett who will be joined each week by Sarasota Herald-Tribune political editor Zac Anderson and legendary State House Insider, John Kennedy in Tallahassee.

“This is an all-star lineup of the best political reporters in the business,” said Patrick Dorsey, president of the Coastal Group for GateHouse Florida. “We have digitally connected all of our newsrooms in Florida to bring our readers and listeners the most up-to-date political analysis in the state.”

“Inside Florida Politics connects each newsroom studio, so our reporters and editors can collaborate to bring on-the-scene reporting to the show,” said Rob Connelly, director of digital audio for GateHouse Media. “Our small, high-end broadcast studios connect together, across hundreds of miles to create this state-of-the-art program each week.”

The “Inside Florida Politics” podcast is released each Thursday and will be featured on every GateHouse Florida newspaper website and available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tunein, Spotify and Amazon Alexa.

GateHouse papers join in support of free press

GateHouse Media publications joined The Boston Globe and hundreds of other newspapers across the country Aug. 16, 2018, by running editorials in support of journalists and denouncing the rhetoric of President Donald Trump, who has called the media industry “the enemy of the people” and repeatedly labeled negative coverage of his administration as “fake news.”

Read each paper’s editorial below:

Van Buren County Democrat, Clinton, Arkansas

North Little Rock Times, North Little Rock, Arkansas

Login Cabin Democrat, Conway, Arkansas

The Record, Stockton, California

Daily Press, Victorville, California

Daytona Beach News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Florida

Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Florida

Panama City News Herald, Panama City, Florida

West Palm Beach News, West Palm Beach, Florida

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Florida

The Gainesville Sun, Gainesville, Florida

Ocala StarBanner, Ocala, Florida

The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida

Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia

The Augusta Chronicle, Augusta. Georgia

The News and Farmer, Louisville, Georgia

Journal Star, Peoria, Illinois

The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Illinois

Rockford Register Star, Rockford, Illinois

Galesburg Register-Mail, Galesburg, Illinois

Daily Ledger, Canton, Illinois

Ames Tribune, Ames, Iowa

Topeka Capital-Joural, Topeka, Kansas

Butler County Times-Gazette, El Dorado, Kansas

Garden City Telegram, Garden City, Kansas

The Hays Daily News, Hays. Kansas

Hutchinson News, Hutchinson, Kansas

Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas

The Newton-Kansan, Newton, Kansas

Wellington Daily News, Wellington, Kansas

The Courier, Houma, Louisiana

Thibodaux Daily Comet, Thibodaux, Louisiana

MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Massachusetts

TheTelegram & Gazette, Worcester, Massachusetts  

The Fairhaven-Acushnet, New Bedford, Massachusetts

Milford Daily News, Milford, Massachusetts

Herald News, Fall River, Massachusetts

Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Wicked Local weekly groups, Massachusetts

Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Massachusetts

The Enterprise, Brockton, Massachusetts

Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Massachusetts

Provincetown Banner, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Sturgis Journal, Sturgis, Michigan

Holland Sentinel, Holland, Michigan

Cheboygan Daily Tribune, Cheboygan, Michigan

Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch, Sleepy Eye, Minnesota

Columbia Tribune, Columbia, Missouri

The Examiner, Independence, Missouri

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Foster’s Daily Democrat, Dover, New Hampshire

Burlington County News, Burlington, New Jersey

Monroe County Post, Canandaigua, New York

The Chronicle-Express, Penn Yan, New York

Times Herald-Record, Middletown, New York

The Herkimer Times Telegram, Herkimer, New York

StarNews Media, Wilmington, North Carolina

Fayetteville Observer, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Gaston Gazette  Gastonia, North Carolina

The Hendersonville Times-News, Hendersonville, North Carolina

The Shelby Star, Shelby, North Carolina

Herald Tribune, Fayetteville, North Carolina

The Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio

The Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio

Times-Gazette, Ashland, Ohio

Record-Courier, Kent, Ohio

The Daily Jefferson, Cambridge, Ohio

The Alliance Review, Alliance, Ohio

The Repository, Canton, Ohio

The Independent, Massillon, Ohio

Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio

Shawnee News-Star, Shawnee, Oklahoma

Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Beaver County Times, Beaver, Pennsylvania

Ellwood City Ledger, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania

Erie Time-News, Erie, Pennsylvania

Bucks County Courier-Times, Levittown, Pennsylvania

The Intelligencer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Providence Journal, Providence, Rhode Island

Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Sherman/Denison Herald Democrat, Sherman, Texas

Austin American Statesman, Austin, Texas

The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Virginia

GateHouse Media acquires Southern Kitchen from Cox Media Group

GateHouse Media and Cox Media Group recently announced that the operations of Cox’s Southern Kitchen, the Atlanta-based Southern food and lifestyle brand, have been acquired by GateHouse.

“We believe GateHouse Media is a great fit for Southern Kitchen — the GateHouse leadership team believes in the vision for the business, values the great work accomplished by our team and is excited about the opportunities ahead. Southern Kitchen is in good hands with GateHouse Media,” said Cox Media Group President Kim Guthrie.

GateHouse Media purchased The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach Daily News and Austin American-Statesman newspapers from Cox earlier this year.

“We’re pleased to announce another acquisition with Cox Media Group,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “Southern Kitchen is a natural addition to our portfolio. It enhances the outstanding food and entertainment coverage featured in our local properties and will contribute to our growing food events business. We also see Southern Kitchen as a great platform for further developing our ecommerce capabilities.”

Cox Media launched Southern Kitchen in 2017 as a destination for the stories, recipes and heritage of food in today’s South. The site celebrates cooking and entertaining with a Southern flair and features an e-commerce store with curated products from national and niche brands and local artisans across the region.

GateHouse Media completes acquisition of the Akron Beacon Journal, sale of GateHouse Media Alaska Holdings assets

GateHouse Media recently announced that it has completed its acquisition of substantially all of the publishing and related assets of the Akron Beacon Journal from Black Press Ltd. for $16 million on May 11, 2018. In a separate transaction, Gatehouse has completed its sale of substantially all of the publishing and related assets of GateHouse Media Alaska Holdings Inc. to Black Press.

The Akron Beacon Journal has been the newspaper of record in Greater Akron for more than 175 years. It has a daily circulation of more than 68,000 and also offers the leading digital source of news for the local market, Ohio.com. It has received the Pulitzer Prize four times and annually receives many accolades for its journalism. Akron is located in northeast Ohio and is the fifth-largest city in the state and is the county seat of Summit County. It has a low cost of living and strong retail sales, with both per capita income and median home values higher than the state average.

Original release at New Media.

Tony Bernados named president of Augusta Chronicle, Chronicle Media

From an original story by Augusta Chronicle staff.

Tony Bernados was recently named the new president of The Augusta Chronicle and Chronicle Media.

“We are excited to have Tony return to Augusta to lead our diverse media portfolio. He brings experience, a deep commitment to community and is well suited to lead The Chronicle team as we evolve and transform our products and services,” said Mike Traynor, Gatehouse Media Georgia Group publisher. “In his new position, Tony will be responsible for all facets of the day-to-day operations of The Chronicle and its portfolio of assets.”

Bernados will start in his new position June 5.

“Tony knows this business and he knows this community,” said Chronicle publisher William S. Morris III. “He’s done a great job in the past and he is poised to be a strong leader for our future.”

Bernados, a 19-year veteran of the media industry, has spent the last two years as president and publisher of Gatehouse Media’s St. Augustine Florida Record and 12 years with Augusta-based Morris Communications in key advertising and revenue roles. Prior to joining Morris, Bernados held executive positions with Scripps Howard, Evening Post Publishing Company and Block Communications.

“Like many before me, I am committed to delivering quality local journalism across all platforms and providing top of the line marketing solutions to serve the needs of the community. To be part of a brand that has been reporting news and providing information for 233 years is both an honor and a privilege,” Bernados said. “I am extremely excited to return to the CSRA and serve a community that has been so good to me and my family over the years.”

In St. Augustine, Bernados has served as campaign chair for the United Way and is on the board of directors for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and St. Johns Volunteers. He also is a Flagler College School of Business Advisor and a member of the Rotary Club of St. Augustine.

Bernados and his wife Donna have three children: Ethan, Gavin and William J.

Read the original story here.

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