Kansas Publishing Ventures, the parent company that owns and operates the Hillsboro Free Press and two other community weekly newspapers in Kansas, has acquired the Herington Times, effective Aug. 9.
John Roberts, who owned the Times for eight years, notified its staff via email that he was closing the doors of the newspaper Aug. 4.
After learning of the Times’ imminent closure, Joey and Lindsey Young, majority owners of the nearby Free Press, hurriedly cobbled together a plan to buy the Times from Roberts.
“We’ve spent our careers fighting for community journalism and weren’t going to watch a nearby paper die when we had an opportunity to do something about it,” Joey Young said.
The Times has declined in size, revenue and circulation from the days of owner Larry Byers. Young, however, hopes to restore the Times to a quality publication the community can be proud of and rely on to be a watchdog, advocate and reliable source for local news.
“We’ve got to cover government, write interesting features, fill the pages with local faces,” Young said. “This paper needs to be a reflection of the town and the people who call Herington home.”
With the Times, Young will seek to immediately make strides to improve the paper, including solving printing issues and working with the postal service to make sure the paper arrives promptly in readers’ mailboxes.
Wendy Jones at the Herington Chamber of Commerce was a big reason Young felt comfortable with the decision to purchase the paper. He said she was very welcoming and encouraging over the phone, and in person when Young and team came last week to review the situation.
Young said it will take that sort of community support to make the turnaround happen over the long run. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell phone: 316-712-2125.
Read more about the transition in the forthcoming Aug. 17 issue of the Free Press.