January 23, 2017 Last Updated 10:37 am

Hearst acquires business operations of The Pioneer Group

The family-owned, Michigan-based communications network, circulates print and digital news to local communities across the state

NEW YORK, NY – January 23, 2017 – Hearst today announced that it has acquired the business operations of The Pioneer Group from fourth-generation family owners Jack and John Batdorff. The announcement was made by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz and Hearst Newspapers President Mark Aldam.

The Pioneer Group is a Michigan-based communications network that circulates print and digital news to local communities across the state. In addition to daily newspapers, The Pioneer and Manistee News Advocate, Pioneer publishes three weekly papers and four local shopper publications, and operates a digital marketing services business.

This acquisition furthers Hearst Newspapers’ connection to the local Michigan communities that has been built through the strong reporting at Hearst’s Huron Daily Tribune and the Midland Daily News.

“We are proud to follow four generations of Batdorff family leadership in these central Michigan communities,” Aldam said. “This addition is an essential part of our desire to further serve readers in Michigan.”

After its founding in 1862 with a four-page weekly newspaper, The Pioneer Group has grown to serve as a regional leader in communications without losing its community-centric focus.

“We have every confidence that Hearst will be good stewards of the community, and will be a progressive community partner, a goal we’ve tried to fulfill over the years,” Jack Batdorff said. “They have a reputation for giving back and for taking care of their people, which has always been important to our family.”

“Hearst has the resources and specific expertise across many media platforms to take the products and the company to a whole new level,” John Batdorff said. “I’m excited for the employees who are joining Hearst, which is a family company too, just on a much bigger scale.”

The PioneerPublisher John Norton will continue in his role following the acquisition.

“Hearst has made a major investment in digital marketing solutions, which we can now roll out into our markets, adding more choices and value for our customers,” Norton said. “It’s going to be exciting for all of us to be a part of this growth step.”

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