Daily Clip: Rust Communications Sells Several Iowa Newspaper

April 8, 2022

Rust Communications Sells Several Iowa Newspaper

Rust Communications has sold the Le Mars Daily Sentinel, Cherokee Chronicle Times, Spencer Daily Reporter and several other northwest Iowa publications to Gene Hall and his son Chris, according to Randy Cope of Cribb, Cope & Potts, who represented the Rust family in the sale. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“Chris and I are tremendously excited for the opportunity to purchase our hometown newspaper,” Gene Hall said. “I’m grateful to Jon Rust for his assistance. I believe in Spencer, I believe in great journalism, and I believe that we will do our level best to give our readers and advertisers the greatest value possible.”

The Hall family is headquartered in Charles City, Iowa, and owns the newspaper and central printing facility there, as well as newspapers in New Hampton, Nashua and Algona.

Based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Rust Communications is a second-generation media company with 33 newspapers and minority ownership of 17 radio stations in nine states.

Unionized Journalists At McClatchy’s Florida Newspapers Stage A 24-Hour Work Stoppage

Joey Flechas, reporter for the Miami Herald and One Herald Guild co-chair and bargaining committee member, speaks to media at a Dec. 11, 2021, rally in Miami. (One Herald Guild/Tony Winton and Emily Michot) More than 75 unionized journalists at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald announced they were walking off the job Friday morning in protest of protracted first contract negotiations.

The walkout, which is scheduled to last 24 hours, comes after more than two years of bargaining at the One Herald Guild, which represents workers at the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and over a year and a half of negotiations at the Bradenton Herald NewsGuild. Though the two units will ultimately have separate contracts, the bargaining team that is handling negotiations with parent company McClatchy has members from both units.

“We have decided we can’t keep on sacrificing our own personal lives for the company to make money and give us nothing in return,” One Herald Guild co-unit chair Mary Ellen Klas said. “Over one day, we are going to withhold our work and try and remind the company that we mean it when we say we want a fair contract.

Publishing Company Starts Newspaper To Focus On Local Storie

A hyperlocal newspaper is thriving as it focuses on sharing weekly stories of small town residents. Syndicate Publishing has been around since July 2019. “Two local guys wanted to start a newspaper that focuses on local stories, so we took off from there,” said Syndicate owner, Colten Venteicher, talking about himself and Syndicate owner, John Bell.

Like many other companies, the 2020 pandemic had a negative impact on this newspaper publisher, but that didn’t stop them from purchasing the Callaway Courier on October 2021, and just a few months ago they started publishing The Cozad Local. “It’s not typical to acquire or start a newspaper this day in age,” Venteicher said.There’s a special recipe Syndicate follows on all their newspapers, combining local stories and news, a recipe Venteicher said is helping them succeed. “We found that those communities, specially Gothenburg, Cozad, Minden, have really thriving communities so those communities support their papers if they are hyperlocal and focused,” Venteicher said.

Nonprofit newsrooms are filling gaps left by newspaper cuts

The total number of statehouse reporters has increased by 11% since 2014, according to the report released Tuesday. The upward swing was driven by a host of new nonprofit news outlets dedicated to statewide policy and politics, as well as more reporters covering the statehouse part-time. (A part-time statehouse reporter might look like an education journalist who treks to the capitol to cover a bill affecting schools, but doesn’t cover legislative activity or state officials unrelated to her beat.) The number of journalists covering statehouses full-time, however, dropped from 904 reporters eight years ago to 850 journalists in 2022. Full-time reporters now make up less than half of statehouse press corps nationwide.

What does that add up to, in terms of overall reporting power in U.S. state capitols? Amy Mitchell, the Pew Research Center’s director of journalism research, and Katerina Eva Matsa, the associate director, said “the answer is kind of a mixed bag.”

“As you point out, the total number of statehouse reporters increased. That increase, however, includes a shift to more part-time statehouse reporting which could impact reporting power,” Mitchell and Matsa wrote in an email. “There are also substantial differences across the states – both in a rise or fall in total reporters as well as changes in full-time numbers.”

As newspaper staffs have been cut, a number of nonprofit newsrooms have stepped in to fill in the gaps. Of the 1,761 journalists who report from state capitols, 20% work for nonprofit news organizations, up from just 6% in 2014. These journalists work for single-state nonprofits like Spotlight PA and CalMatters as well as outlets like States Newsroom, which has reporters in more than 20 state capitols. (Pew Research Center counted openly ideological outlets — even those with nonprofit status — in a separate category.) In 10 states, there are more statehouse journalists working for nonprofits than any other kind of outlet.

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