December 22, 2016 Last Updated 1:22 pm

McClatchy buys the Herald-Sun (Durham, NC) from family-owned Paxton Media Group

McClatchy already publishes papers in North Carolina, and now production of the Herald-Sun will be the responsibility of the The News & Observer in nearby Raleigh

The newspaper chain McClatchy pulled off a major surprise yesterday when it announced that it had acquired the Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina). McClatchy has been in the news mostly as of late for its very poor earnings reports, and questions about its future.

But there are occasions when, even in the worst of times, an acquisition makes sense. McClatchy owns the newspapers in Charlotte, Raleigh and elsewhere nearby and certainly would see the purchase of the Herald-Sun as of competitive necessity.

For the previous owner, Paxton Media Group, the sale represents a nice cash infusion. Paxton is a family owned newspaper paper publisher, owning papers mostly in the south, as well as a few in Indiana. Its total reach was small to begin with, this reduces it even further.

Paxton has only owned the paper since 2004 and its ownership has been marked mainly with downsizing, so readers will not be too concerned about the sale. (The paper’s Wikipedia page lists five downsizing episodes.)

Here is McClatchy’s announcement:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – December 21, 2016 — McClatchy today announced it has acquired the assets and operations of The (Durham, NC) Herald-Sunincluding related digital assets, from the Paducah, Kentucky-based Paxton Media Group, which has owned the publication since 2004. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Herald-Sun and its predecessor publications have been serving Durham since 1889,” Paxton Media Group’s president and CEO David Paxton said.  “We believe this transaction strengthens the newspaper and assures that it will continue to serve the community for many years to come.  We are confident McClatchy will carry forward The Herald-Sun’s legacy and mission of service to the community of Durham. McClatchy is committed to providing top-notch journalism to the Carolinas. We also want to thank all employees for their contributions to the community and newspaper during our ownership.

“Paxton Media Group has been publishing newspapers since 1896.  Like McClatchy, we believe newspapers, in print and digital forms, have a vital role to play in their communities, and we remain committed to the business.”  Paxton Media Group will continue to operate newspapers in more than 50 communities after this transaction.

Sacramento, California-based McClatchy is a leading provider of digital and print news and information in cities across the country, including several markets in the Carolinas. In addition to owning The News & Observer in nearby Raleigh, it also owns The Charlotte Observer and several papers in South Carolina: The State, in Columbia, The Island Packet, in Hilton Head, The Beaufort GazetteThe Sun News in Myrtle Beach; and The Herald, in Rock Hill.

“We’re grateful to Paxton Media Group for choosing McClatchy when it decided to sell. To be entrusted with the journalistic legacy of The Herald-Sun is a privilege,” said McClatchy president and CEO, Pat Talamantes, “We look forward to serving The Herald-Sun’s readers and customers well.”

Sara Glines, president and publisher of The News & Observer, will oversee its operations.  Glines noted, “We are excited to be able to expand our print and digital presence in the Raleigh-Durham area.  We’ll give our utmost focus and attention to The Herald-Sun‘s customers and continue to be a strong partner in the community.”

Durham is a vibrant and dynamic community offering residents and visitors access to top universities and schools, healthcare, outdoor experiences and events, and a wide array of cultural activities. In April of 2016, Livability ranked it one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in the United States.

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