Rust Communications Inc., which owns Areawide Media, has acquired several newspapers in northwestern Iowa and one in Indiana from Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. of Birmingham, Ala.
The newspaper ownership changes were announced last week in Iowa and Indiana. The effective date of the purchases is Jan. 1.
The newspapers acquired by Rust Communications in Iowa are The Spencer Daily Reporter, Northwest Iowa Shopper, Storm Lake Pilot-Tribute, Buena Visit County Shopper, Dickinson County News and Okobojian.
In a separate transaction, Rust acquired the Linton Daily Citizen in Indiana.
The three newspaper locations in northwest Iowa will continue to be managed by Paula Buenger as group publisher. Bob Madsen will remain at the helm of the Storm Lake property, serving as general manager.
In Indiana, the editor of the Linton Daily Citizen, Chris Pruett, will continue as general manager and report to Randy List, publisher and part-owner of Rust Communications newspapers in Greencastle and Brazil, Ind.
"It is a great pleasure to return these properties to family ownership," Rex Rust, co-president of Rust Communications, told newspaper associates last week in Iowa. "Our local publishers are key in this process. When we say we empower our publishers to manage their newspapers, we mean that we intend for them to be the eyes and ears of the community and to serve the community with great news products. The best decisions are made locally, and that is how Rust newspapers are managed."
Jon Rust, co-president of Rust Communications, said, "This in itself -- the empowerment of our publishers -- has been a formula for our success. It has enabled us to grow from four newspapers 10 years ago to more than 50 newspapers in seven states -- including 16 daily newspapers. Chief Operating Officer Wally Lage, Chairman Gary Rust and a team of department heads and associates who take pride in creating excellent products are the other keys to this growth."
Rust Communications purchased Areawide Media and the Villager Journal in 2001.
Rust Communications owns other newspapers in Iowa and Indiana. In 1997 the company bought the LeMars (Iowa) Daily Sentinel and added newspapers in Anthon, Kingsley and Correctionville shorty thereafter. Two newspapers in Cherokee, Iowa, were purchased last year and merged into the Cherokee Chronicle Times.
In Indiana, Rust Communications acquired The (Greencastle) Banner-Graphic and Brazil Times within the past four years. "We seek to grow the company strategically in ways that we can serve advertisers and readers better," Lage said. "These latest acquisitions strengthen two of our existing clusters."
Rust Communications is headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where the flagship newspaper, The Southeast Missourian, is published.
Community Newspaper Holdings in one of the largest newspaper conglomerates in the United States with newspapers in more than 200 communities. It recently acquired several dailies in the Midwest, including the Joplin (Mo.) Globe.