Announcements

GateHouse Media announces winners of national scholarship essay competition

GateHouse Media recently announced the six winners of its first-ever Scholarship Essay Competition for high school and undergraduate college students. The Grand Prize winner and three of five runners-up were from Massachusetts, while Texas and New York students were also runner-up winners.

Students were invited to write a 500-word essay on what one of four words — local, community, trusted and impact – means to them. These four words are featured in GateHouse Media’s current branding campaign which highlights the role GateHouse journalists and publications play in their local communities. Nearly 1,000 essays were submitted and the winners were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of GateHouse editors, led by Lisa Glowinski, director of the company’s More Content Now division, and college journalism professors.

The winners are:

Grand Prize Winner ($3,000 scholarship): Theresa Maylott, Littleton, Massachusetts

Runner-Up Winners ($1,000 scholarships):

Victoria Daros, North Salem, New York
Sydney Koo, Newton, Massachusetts
Thomas Snelson, Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Kylee Sutherland, Goldthwaite, Texas
Kasey Zaleski, Avon, Massachusetts

“When we asked students to write about local, community, trusted and impact, themes of our branding campaign, we knew we’d get some very thoughtful essays,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “We were truly overwhelmed by both the quantity and quality of entries submitted. The students’ work speaks volumes about their love and appreciation for their communities.”

“I was encouraged by the quality of these submissions,” said Glowinski. “The entrants all seem to be accomplished, tenacious students who have big plans for the future of our communities. I’m proud to see GateHouse Media supporting creativity and education through this contest.”

GateHouse also ran an essay competition for staff members and their families. The winners of that competition were recently awarded $5,000 in scholarships.

New Media announces agreement to acquire Austin American-Statesman for $47.5 million

New Media Investment Group Inc., one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, announced today that it has agreed to acquire the Austin American-Statesman and its niche publications and companion websites from Cox Media Group, LLC, for $47.5 million.

The Austin American-Statesman has been a trusted, award-winning media presence in Central Texas for more than 140 years. The newspaper has daily circulation of 85,000 and its companion websites average more than 13 million page views per month. It also publishes Austin360, the city’s premiere entertainment source, as well as several weekly niche community publications. Austin is a very attractive market, named the 2017 Best Place to Live in America by U.S. News and World Report, and is home to many major corporations such as Whole Foods, Dell and IBM. In addition, Austin has a thriving technology community. It is also home to several large community institutions, such as the University of Texas, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and, as the state capitol, hosts the Texas state legislature.

“New Media is very excited to add the Austin American-Statesman and its associated publications to our portfolio of local media assets,” said Michael E. Reed, New Media President and Chief Executive Officer. “In addition to being known for its strong and trusted journalism and having high digital engagement, the city of Austin is a very attractive market for our growing business offerings such as UpCurve and GateHouse Live. We look forward to working with Austin employees to further build upon their partnerships and carry on the strong local journalism they do in Austin.”

The transaction will be funded with cash on the balance sheet and will be immediately accretive to free cash flow. New Media expects the transaction to close early in the second quarter.

About New Media Investment Group Inc.

New Media supports small to mid-size communities by providing locally-focused print and digital content to its consumers and premier marketing and technology solutions to its small and medium business partners. The Company is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by our 142 daily publications. As of December 31, 2017, New Media operates in over 565 markets across 38 states reaching over 22 million people on a weekly basis and serves approximately 215,000 business customers.

Herald-Tribune’s Patrick Dorsey named SNPA president

Patrick Dorsey

Patrick Dorsey, regional vice president of GateHouse Media’s Coastal Group and publisher of the Herald-Tribune Media Group in Sarasota, Florida, was recently named president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

Dorsey, who previously served as SNPA’s treasurer, was appointed by the SNPA Executive Committee to succeed Les Simpson and will serve as president until the annual SNPA News Industry Summit in October.

SNPA President-Elect PJ Browning, president and publisher of The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, will remain president-elect and will be nominated to succeed Dorsey at the 2018 annual meeting in Nashville.

For more information, visit the Herald-Tribune.

GateHouse Media launches co-branded content, commerce initiative with Houzz

GateHouse Media recently announced an alliance with Houzz, the biggest platform for home renovation and design, to provide the full, authentic Houzz content, shopping and pro-finder experience across all GateHouse newspaper websites. This is the first time Houzz has partnered with any U.S. publisher to provide readers with a fully co-branded experience that includes the ability to purchase products directly from the publisher’s co-branded websites.

The integration with Houzz is part of GateHouse Media’s strategy to create local home and real estate destination channels within newspapers’ websites. The collaboration, which launched in mid-November 2017 across an initial group of 20 newspaper websites, will bring Houzz’s inspirational home design content and robust shopping experience to GateHouse’s approximately 39 million monthly readers. The full roll-out to all newspaper websites will be complete in early 2018. The Homes channels within each website will also feature local real estate content, homes for sale and recent transaction information, and tools to help prospective buyers and sellers. For realtors and brokers, GateHouse offers a full suite of digital marketing tools through its small business services business, ThriveHive, as well as print and digital advertising opportunities.

“We’re thrilled to provide our readers with the full Houzz content experience,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “And we are truly excited to be the first publisher to deliver a co-branded commerce experience that offers all the great products from the Houzz Shop within the trusted, local environment of our New Media news sites.”

For GateHouse Media, this unique, first-of-its-kind digital partnership adds tremendous value for both consumers and business-to-business customers. To promote the partnership, GateHouse will launch a month-long sweepstakes nationwide Jan.15, with prize offerings that include a $5000 Houzz shopping spree, daily cash prizes and Houzz discount coupons.

For more information, check out The Ledger’s new Homes section.

GateHouse Media investigation: Living in the shadow of wind farms

Wind farms generate clean energy, but living in their shadow has its costs, according to a six-month GateHouse Media investigation.

The report uncovered a litany of complaints and lawsuits from coast to coast. Wind farm developers from some of the biggest energy companies in the world have divided communities and angered residents, some of whom say the giant turbines have ruined their lives.

The turbines create relentless noises, vibrations and shadow flickers, according to some of those living nearby. Developers are accused of operating in secret and using aggressive tactics to obtain land leases. Energy officials call the complaints exaggerated.

The data-rich project was reported by National Data Projects Editor Emily Le Coz and investigative reporting intern Lucille Sherman (a senior journalism student at the University of Missouri). These investigative journalists compiled a list of over 450 families nationwide who spoke before state commissions and in legislative hearings. The reporters also spoke with 70 families and 10 lawmakers, reviewed lawsuits and lease agreements.

What is it like to live near a wind farm? Our project takes you on a journey to understand the lives of those in the shadow. For example, you can experience the flicker created by the turning turbines with our simulation.

See for yourself. Hear from the farmers. Check out the project.

Home Town Cook’n Thanksgiving recipe contest winners announced

GateHouse Media has awarded more than $5,000 in cash and prizes to the winners of its first Home Town Cook’n Thanksgiving recipe contest:

Soups category winner: Ellen Verdugo, Gloucester, Massachusetts, for Mushroom-Chestnut ‘Tres Leches’ Soup with Espresso and Thyme
Vegetable dishes category winner: Jaemuk Jeong, Athens, Georgia, for Kabocha Casserole
Non-turkey entrees category winner: Dianna M. Wara, Washington, Illinois, for Twisted Lime & Cranberry Pork Roast
Cakes and cobblers category winner: Patricia A. Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania, for Blackberry Apple Cobbler with Cinnamon Chip Ice Cream Scone Topping
Grand prize winner: Loanne Chiu, Fort Worth, Texas, for Thanksgiving Aromatic Pumpkin Beef Ribs

Each category winner received a $500 American Express gift card, and the grand prize winner received a culinary experience trip for two to their choice of New Orleans, New York City or Napa Valley.

Twelve finalist recipes – out of more than 1,100 submissions – were prepared and judged Oct. 27 at Columbus State Community College in Ohio. Four members of the school’s culinary program assessed the recipes on taste, visual appeal and creativity, and chose the winners. Winning recipes will be posted at hometowncookn.com after Nov. 20 and a collection of recipes from the contest will be published in GateHouse Media newspapers and on their websites Nov. 22 and 23, Thanksgiving Day.

The contest entry program was provided by Cook’n, a digital recipe organization and sharing tool. Cook’n lets users snag recipes from anywhere online and access them on any device through the Cook’n app. Users can also compile and print cookbooks, get the nutritional value of recipes, create shopping lists and weekly meal plans and more.

GateHouse Media launches national scholarship competition

GateHouse Media recently launched a scholarship contest for college-bound students across the nation.

Students are asked to select either the word “impact,” “trusted,” “community” or “local” and submit an essay of up to 500 words explaining what the word means to them.

The competition will award five $1,000 scholarships and one $3,000 grand prize scholarship.

For more information, visit GateHouseScholarship.com.

ZipRecruiter, GateHouse Media launch partnership to transform hiring in 550 markets across US

ZipRecruiter and GateHouse Media recently announced a partnership that makes ZipRecruiter the exclusive recruitment advertising partner for GateHouse Media. The partnership, which will launch Oct. 1 in more than 550 markets across the U.S., will power GateHouse recruitment pages — online and in print — that reach more than 21 million readers every week.

Local businesses in GateHouse Media markets will be able to leverage the power of ZipRecruiter’s candidate matching algorithm and email job alert program, all while maintaining their relationship with their local GateHouse newspaper and account manager.

GateHouse Media readers who are in the job search process will also benefit from this partnership and can now search and apply to jobs through their trusted, local newspaper — in print and online — faster and easier than ever before. Jobs posted through GateHouse Media will also be available to search and apply to in ZipRecruiter’s mobile job search apps.

“We’re excited to team with GateHouse Media to power their recruitment pages,” said Ian Siegel, CEO and co-founder of ZipRecruiter. “Our core mission is to quickly connect employers to great candidates, and this partnership will put our sophisticated matching technology to work in doing just that for millions of GateHouse Media readers nationwide.”

“We’re always looking for the best tools and most-valuable services to offer our 225,000 local business partners,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “Working with ZipRecruiter will allow us to provide the business community in all our markets with the easiest and most cost-effective way to manage their hiring needs. And we’ll provide a quicker, streamlined way for job seekers in all our markets to find the best job for them.”

This is ZipRecruiter’s largest partnership with a national media company and represents an expansion of their publishing partnership program, which spans 1,000 partners across North America and the United Kingdom. For GateHouse, this is a unique, first-of-its-kind national partnership that will bring a consistent recruitment platform to digital and print properties.

GateHouser rescued from Harvey floodwaters, with help from another Gatehouser

Houston residents have returned to their hurricane-ravaged homes, ready to rip out drywall, tear up carpets and sift through the destruction for surviving valuables.

Robin Good, director of business development with GateHouse Media, was among those homeowners. As devastating as her situation is, it could have been worse.

Good and her elderly dog were nearly stranded in their home in Katy, Texas, while the flood waters rose. But a connection with another GateHouse employee resulted in a timely rescue.

The Thursday before the storm really hit, Aug. 27, Good was returning home from a business trip. Officials were urging residents to shelter in place, so Good stocked up on supplies, made sure all her devices were charged and prepared to hunker down.

“It didn’t seem so bad that night and of course there was no flooding. It was overcast the next day but the sun came out,” Good said. “Then we got 48 inches in 48 hours. Houston floods, but I’ve never had a problem before.”

Still, Good’s home hadn’t lost power, and her backyard only had a little flooding. Saturday and Sunday go by, and the roadways leaving Good’s neighborhood were unpassable. She was stranded — but still safe. The water hadn’t risen.

That changed on Monday, when the water swiftly began flooding her yard, then her home.

Good retreated to her attic but didn’t have an ax in case she needed to break through. She began posting increasingly distressed status updates on Facebook, where they were seen by a friend.

Aimee Thomas, a multimedia account executive with the StarBanner in Ocala, Florida, met Good for just a week when Good was in Florida on a work trip. The two hit it off and friended each other on Facebook.

Thomas happened to have a friend who lived in Sugar Land, Texas — about 20 miles from Houston — who had a Jeep prepared for rescues. Thomas put the two in contact, and Good was whisked to safety as the waters closed in around her.

The water was too high for the Jeep to make it to her house, so Good waded through waist-deep water to make it out. Her 13-year-old dog, Bonnie, swam “for the first time in her life,” Good said.

As the storm raged, Good made it to Dallas, where her niece met her. The two drove 22 hours to North Carolina. After an agonizing wait, Good was finally able to get back into her house late last week.

The house, she said, is a complete loss.

“I put some things up on shelves, but at that point you just get out. You get out with your life,” Good said. “About 80 percent of people in Houston don’t have flood insurance and I’m one of those people.”

Now, she’s facing the monstrous task of cleanup.

“We’re tearing every bit of drywall out now. All the floors. All the furniture,” she said. “It looks like a war zone.”

Steve Lundblade named general manager of Sentinel, Kansan

Steve Lundblade

Steve Lundblade was recently named the general manager of the McPherson Sentinel and the Newton Kansan in Kansas.

Lundblade is a Wichita native and has more than 20 years of experience in the journalism industry. He has previously held positions at the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas City Sar and at the magazine division of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Lundblade will oversee day-to-day operations for both publications, as well as revenue, circulation and news budgeting.

For more information, visit the McPherson Sentinel.

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