Where do you want to fly?
Herald-Mail Media, Hagerstown’s newspaper of record for more than 190 years, will be under new ownership by the end of the week.
Schurz Communications on Monday announced its plans to sell its publishing division assets, including Herald-Mail Media, to GateHouse Media LLC. The sale is expected to be completed by Thursday.
GateHouse, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the U.S., will take ownership during the first quarter of 20 regional papers and several special publications in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
Herald-Mail Media President Andy Bruns said the sale would result in some changes, “but not likely any more than we had already been implementing over the last dozen or so years.”
“We have continually made changes to adapt to our customers’ changing habits since the digital revolution began, and that’s certainly not going to stop with new ownership,” he said.
With GateHouse at the helm, Bruns said, Herald-Mail Media will have access to more resources when it comes to new content and advertising solutions.
“They are a big player in local media … so we are optimistic that you will enjoy any changes we make going forward,” he said.
The transition included the layoff of three full-time employees. Two worked in the newsroom and the other was in paper’s digital department.
The sale does not include Antietam Broadband, another Hagerstown company owned by Schurz Communications.
The privately held company based in Mishawaka, Ind., which sold off its television and radio stations in 2015, plans to continue its investments in cloud and managed IT services and broadband operations.
“Our leadership team, Board of Directors and ownership group are dedicated to helping the company stay true to its roots of fostering communication and connections while charting a successful course for the future,” Todd Schurz, president and chief executive officer at Schurz Communications said in a news release.
“This is a natural next step forward in our evolution as a company given our mission to help solve challenges by linking people, businesses and communities,” he said. “We will continue to explore the types of investments that support our commitment to technology and anticipate adding new employees to our team and new companies to our portfolio in the near future.”
Schurz Communications’ focus on technology began with the purchase of four broadband companies. A fifth is in the works.
Herald-Mail Media’s roots date back to The Daily Mail, a newspaper that started in 1828 and became an afternoon daily in 1890, and The Morning Herald, Hagerstown’s first daily morning paper in 1873.
In 1920, the two papers merged, but maintained morning and afternoon publications. Both were purchased by Schurz Communications in 1960.
The two newspapers then merged into one daily morning publication in October 2007.
Herald-Mail Media is based at 100 Summit Ave. in Hagerstown, but the paper also covers the Tri-State area, including Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia, and Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania.
The company employs 61 full-time workers and 37 more on a part-time basis.
GateHouse, headquartered in Pittsford, N.Y., has 145 daily publications and operates in over 555 markets across 37 states, reaching 22 million people on a weekly basis and serving over 221,000 business customers.
It also owns the Record Herald in Waynesboro, Pa., and the Echo-Pilot in Greencastle, Pa., as well as the Central Penn Business Journal, based in Harrisburg, Pa.