After ceasing publication on April 10, the Daily Clintonian was purchased by Don L. Hurd, president of Hoosier Media Group, Hometown Media and Heartland Media Group, surprising the residents of Clinton, Ind. The purchase is the latest addition to Hurd’s collection of 11 newspapers—all located in Indiana.
The Clintonian was established in 1912 and purchased by the Carey family in 1936. Earlier this year, Hurd was interested in purchasing the paper after learning the family was looking for a buyer, but unfortunately, the news slipped his mind. However, when he heard about the closure in April (due to the challenges adapting to the changing market conditions), his interest was reignited.
“That’s a really sad state of affairs to have a daily newspaper close like that,” Hurd said. “So, I really looked at the numbers again, and I thought I can make this thing work and continue to serve the community.”
After communicating with the Carey family, they accepted Hurd’s offer, and he took the reins of the Clintonian on May 1, a month after the closure. The acquisition included the newspaper only, and terms of the sale were not disclosed.
One of the first steps Hurd took toward the Clintonian’s revival was to create the newspaper’s first Facebook page. According to Hurd, in just a few days, the page received more than 1,000 followers. When E&P spoke to Hurd, he had just published the Clintonian’s first issue under his watch. That issue published on May 16 and will continue to publish every Saturday and Wednesday. The quick launch was possible thanks to utilizing templates and designs from some of his other newspapers.
Hurd made changes to include more local news and faces as well as full color photos. He also plans to update the print size from its 35-inch size to something narrower. In addition, Hurd plans to publish niche publications, host events and launch a website for the newspaper.
Hurd did rehire a couple former staffers including an editor and graphic designer. In addition, an employee from one of his other newspapers was brought in to handle marketing and advertising.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to have those people working for us,” he said. “They have the same goal and vision; they believe in print and they feel proud of what they do and what they provide for the communities we serve.”
Hurd said there has been a lot of positive feedback and excitement about the paper making a comeback. He pointed to the surge of Facebook followers as an example that people in the community are hungry for news. The first issue also received positive feedback as well, earning the newspaper new subscribers. Hurd said the community loved the local content and color photos.
“It really is exciting to be able to purchase a newspaper, to come in and revive it and give it a new life,” Hurd said. “Some people might call me crazy for buying a newspaper during the pandemic situation, but the world doesn’t stop. Things still go on and people still want a newspaper.”