A family-owned newspaper in eastern Arkansas has been sold to a Kentucky media group.
The Times Dispatch of Walnut Ridge has been sold to the Paxton Media Group. The newspaper’s sale to the Paducah, Ky.-based media organization is set to close on Monday, Oct. 30.
The newspaper announced the sale in its Wednesday issue.
Founded in 1910, the Times-Dispatch has been owned and operated by the Bland family since 1921. John L. Bland, the grandfather of current publisher John Bland, took over the paper after moving from Newport.
According to the Times-Dispatch article, James L. Bland Jr. also worked at the paper, starting in 1946. John Bland began working at the Times-Dispatch in 1980 and became publisher in 1986.
In an editorial, John and Beth Bland thanked the local community and their staff. “We feel most fortunate to have worked with an excellent group of people, past and present, and owe them our heartfelt thanks for a job well done. There are too many to name, but our editors, Tom Moore and Gretchen Hunt, as well as Marla Helms, have all been journalists of the highest order,”they wrote.
However, they say that Paxton Media Group, which has a pre-established presence in eastern Arkansas, is well-equipped to continue the Times-Dispatch’s mission.
“The Paxton group, although based in Paducah, Ky., also owns The Jonesboro Sun and, we think, is well positioned to guide the paper through its next phase. We wish it, and our staff, well. As for us, along with our spouses, Renee Bland and Paul Girolamo, we are looking forward to new adventures, while the younger generation heads off in different directions pursuing their goals and dreams,”they wrote.
This is the second major purchase that Paxton Media Group has made in Arkansas in recent months. In June, the company purchased the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, as well as the Van Buren County Democrat, the Heber Springs Sun Times and the Newport Independent.
The company also owns the Jonesboro Sun, the Daily Citizen in Searcy, the Daily Press in Paragould, the Russellville Courier and the Batesville Daily Guard.