SVP of GateHouse news, Bill Church, adds Statesman editor-in-chief to title

PITTSFORD, NY — GateHouse Media, LLC (“GateHouse Media” or the “Company”) announced Feb. 7 that Bill Church will add the role of Austin American-Statesman editor-in-chief to his responsibilities as GateHouse Media’s senior vice president of news, effective immediately. Church, a respected industry veteran, known for his visionary leadership, has served in his current role since 2016.

“Leading one of the largest newsrooms among GateHouse’s 470 daily and weekly publications demands innovation, passion and a commitment to journalism with impact,” said Kirk Davis, GateHouse CEO. ”Bill’s brand of boundary-pushing journalism is an ideal fit for Austin, and in his dual role as Statesman editor-in-chief and GateHouse senior vice president of news, Bill is committed to transforming our existing newsroom models into agile, audience-engaged teams.”

In the role of SVP news, Church guides GateHouse Media’s news strategy and leads the Center for News & Design which offers a broad range of content services to the company’s newspapers and commercial clients and serves as a leader and change agent within the design community. Previously, Church served as executive editor of the company’s award-winning Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for its year-long collaboration with the Tampa Bay Times detailing the horrific conditions in Florida’s mental hospitals.

“I am very excited to work with Bill again after our very successful time together at the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota,” said Pat Dorsey, Publisher of the Austin American-Statesman and Regional Vice President for GateHouse Media. “He has a well-earned reputation as an innovative and collaborative leader with a passion for impactful community journalism. I look forward to matching his passion and vision with the already high performing news team at the Austin American-Statesman to take our journalism to new heights and best serve the Austin community.”

Church is a former president of Associated Press Media Editors, a 2016 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a two-time Pulitzer jurist. Church has been a longtime member of the Asian American Journalists Association and received the national Robert G. McGruder Diversity Leadership award in 2010. Church was named a McCormick Fellow in 2006.

About GateHouse Media, LLC

GateHouse Media, headquartered in Pittsford, New York, is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc., which is focused primarily on investing in a high quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets and on growing existing advertising and digital marketing and business services. The company is one of the largest publishers of locally-based media in the United States, as measured by its 145 daily newspapers. As of September 30, 2018, GateHouse Media operates in over 555 markets across 37 states, reaching over 23 million people on a weekly basis, and serves over 221,000 business customers.

For more information regarding GateHouse Media, visit


GateHouse Media

Carlene Cox, Director of Specialty Content


Industry innovator to lead news performance, partnerships

Since its establishment in 2014, the Austin-based Center for News & Design has been devoted to developing innovative design methods that enable GateHouse Media newsrooms to focus on their primary mission: #DoJournalismWithImpact.

GateHouse Media Senior Vice President of News, Bill Church recently announced two important changes regarding the leadership at the CND.

First, Steve Dorsey has been named Vice President of News Performance and Partnerships. Formerly the Vice President of Innovation and Planning at the Austin American-Statesman, Dorsey brings an impressive combination of executive-level strategy and vision, along with imaginative design chops.

“Many at GateHouse have already worked closely with Steve, and can attest to his creativity and stellar work ethic,” Church said. “I’m confident Steve will strengthen our relationships with newsroom leaders and commercial clients, encourage a renewed sense of creativity among our many talented designers, and empower our management team to collaborate in new and exciting ways.”

A former President of the Society for News Design, Dorsey’s experience includes top design leadership roles with the Detroit Media Partnership, which manages The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. In his new role, Dorsey will define the vision and provide the strategic energy for the CND, and will work to expand content partnerships that benefit our newsrooms.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to join the Center for News and Design at such a critical time in the news industry,” Dorsey said. “I’m eager to get to know and work closely with the talented designers, editors and leadership teams at the CND, and look forward to partnering with GateHouse editors, newsrooms and the communities we serve around the country to deliver the very best news experiences possible.”

Second, Doug Gass has been named CND Executive Director. Gass has been the driving force behind the CND since its inception, and has previous newsroom leadership experience including Executive Editor of the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. In his new role, Gass will be responsible for managing the staff and operations of the CND, while leading the onboarding of new products.

The Center for News & Design offers a range of content services to GateHouse newspapers and commercial clients, including centralized copy editing and page design, web development, niche content products and training. The CND currently produces more than 200 newspapers and is staffed with more than 225 employees — making it the largest such design hub in the nation.

These appointments will enable GateHouse to build on the CND’s successful model and continue to serve as an influencer in the news and design space.

About GateHouse Media, LLC

GateHouse Media, headquartered in Pittsford, New York, is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc., which is focused primarily on investing in a high quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets and on growing existing advertising and digital marketing and business services. The company is one of the largest publishers of locally-based media in the United States, as measured by its 145 daily newspapers. As of September 30, 2018, GateHouse Media operates in over 555 markets across 37 states, reaching over 23 million people on a weekly basis, and serves over 221,000 business customers.

New Media announces agreement to acquire the newspaper assets of Schurz Communications Inc.

New Media Investment Group Inc. recently announced that it has agreed to acquire the newspapers and related assets of Schurz Communications Inc. for $30 million. GateHouse Media, headquartered in Pittsford, New York, is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc.

Schurz is selling ten daily newspapers, which include the highly attractive college towns of South Bend, Indiana, (The South Bend Tribune) and Bloomington, Indiana (Herald-Times). The group has an average daily circulation of 105,000 and Sunday circulation of 94,000 and its websites average over 4 million unique visitors monthly and have more than 300,000 social media followers. Additionally, there are nine weekly and fourteen other community publications that have an aggregate weekly circulation of 250,000. These assets span Indiana, South Dakota, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

“We are excited to welcome the Schurz publications and their employees into New Media,” said Michael E. Reed, New Media President and Chief Executive Officer. “After nearly 150 years of ownership, we are honored that the Schurz family has chosen us to steward these papers into the future. They have a long history of strong journalism and community impact and we are excited to build upon their digital efforts
with the introduction of our UpCurve products.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter. Moorgate Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Schurz Communications in connection with this transaction.

For more information, visit New Media.

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

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