By Journal Staff
The parent company of the Idaho State Journal announced Thursday that it is selling all of its newspapers to the family-owned Adams Publishing Group Co.
The sale will include the Journal and the Pioneer News Group Co.’s 21 other newspapers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah along with a newspaper and commercial print facility, various shopper publications and several websites.
Idaho State Journal Publisher Andy Pennington said the Journal’s many readers and advertisers in Eastern Idaho should definitely look forward to the publication’s bright future under another family-run company.
“This is definitely an exciting new chapter in the Journal’s history,” Pennington said. “The Journal benefited greatly when we were purchased by Pioneer and we’ll benefit even more by being a part of Adams Publishing. This will mean more resources for the newspaper and that will have a very positive impact on our print and web products. Being part of a larger company will also mean we’re better prepared than ever to weather the ever-evolving media landscape. This is a great day for the Journal and for Adams.”
Adams Publishing Group, also known as APG, owns and operates 100 community newspapers in 11 states, including the acquisition of five newspaper publishing companies in 2016. The company is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to its community newspaper company, the Adams family owns radio stations, outdoor advertising companies, a wine distribution business, label printing companies, and a large interest in Camping World Holdings, a publicly traded national network of RV dealers, affinity programs, the Good Sam Club and other RV related products and services.
“We’re very excited to welcome the Pioneer group of community newspapers, commercial print facilities, and other print and digital products and services to APG. We’re especially pleased to welcome Pioneer’s over 500 dedicated associates to our community newspaper group,” said Steve Adams of the Adams Publishing Group. “The Wood family, along with Pioneer’s dedicated employees and management team, has done a stellar job of creating new and compelling products and services, both in print and digital, in the face of an ever-changing media landscape. We commend their efforts, and look forward to continuing their proud journalistic tradition in the communities Pioneer serves.”
In the Idaho State Journal, Adams is purchasing a newspaper with roots dating back to Pocatello’s earliest years. The Journal’s story actually begins with the Pocatello Tribune, which began publishing in 1890. The paper went through a couple of ownership changes before it was purchased by Pocatello’s famous Ifft family in 1892. The Idaho State Journal was started in 1924 by Frank W. Brown, H.P. Pinkney and E.G. Frawley and went through several ownership changes before the Iffts bought it in 1932. For a while, the Ifft family operated both the Pocatello Tribune and the Idaho State Journal but in 1949 the Scripps League of Newspapers of Seattle purchased partial ownership of the papers, which were subsequently combined into a single daily edition under the Idaho State Journal name.
The Seattle-based Pioneer News Group bought the Idaho State Journal in 1984.
The Pioneer News Group is a family media business owned by members of the Scripps family. The Scripps family has a long history in newspapers, starting with EW Scripps who started the Detroit Evening News in 1873 and the Cleveland Penny Press in 1878, which led to a bigger chain of newspapers that included the St. Louis Chronicle and Cincinnati Post. Pioneer was formed by James G. Scripps in 1986. The company is owned by Leighton Wood and his children Stedem, Marnie, Heather, Laura and eight next-generation family members. Marnie Roozen is chairwoman of the company’s Board of Directors.
“It has been an honor for my family to serve our communities over these many generations,” Roozen said. “We cherish the friendships we have created with our employees and truly feel we are a family. It is because of our dedication to our communities and employees that we are so pleased that Adams Publishing Group is purchasing our media division. Adams shares our values as well as a deep commitment to the future of community newspapers. It is heartening to know our papers will be in very capable hands.”
Mike Gugliotto, president and CEO of Pioneer, added, “I’m very proud of the outstanding work Pioneer employees have produced as our industry continues to evolve, facing related challenges and exciting new opportunities. It’s been a privilege to work with some of the most dedicated, determined and creative people in the business, with the unwavering support of the Wood family.”
In addition to the Idaho State Journal, the Pioneer newspapers included in the sale are The Ellensburg Daily Record, The Klamath Falls Herald and News, The Lake County Examiner, The Klamath Falls Nickel, The Skagit Valley Herald, The Anacortes American, The Burlington Argus, The Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, The Stanwood Camano News, The Logan Herald Journal, The Tremonton Leader, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, The Belgrade News, The Idaho Press Tribune, The Kuna Melba News, The Meridian Press, The Emmett Messenger Index, The Montpelier News-Examiner, The Preston Citizen, The Rexburg Standard Journal and The Teton Valley News.
Idaho State Journal Editor Ian H. Fennell said the Journal’s commitment to serving its readers and advertisers will get even stronger under the ownership of Adams Publishing.
“This is an exciting and very positive change for the Journal and its many readers and advertisers,” Fennell said. “The media world is ever-changing right now with more and more people getting their news via the web but others still preferring the printed newspaper. We’re confident that we’ll be able to chart our course better than ever under our new owners, and our readers and advertisers will definitely be pleased.”
The sale is expected to be finalized on Nov. 1. Terms were not disclosed.