New company acquires Oklahoma dailies

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A newly formed media group with Oklahoma ties has purchased three newspapers in the southern part of the state from Civitas Media.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, N.M., represented Civitas Media in the transaction.

Larry Miller, an owner and chief executive officer of Graystone Media Group LLC, announced the purchase of daily newspapers in Durant and Altus, as well as a weekly newspaper in Frederick.

Another owner, Rick Carpenter, serves as president of Graystone Media Group and publisher of The Altus Times. Miller and Carpenter have previously owned newspapers in Colorado and South Carolina.

Miller will serve as publisher of The Durant Democrat and will be involved in all aspects of the paper.

"My partners and I want to live in the communities we serve and work with our employees to make this paper as good as it can be," Miller said.

"We know the newspaper industry has been challenged in recent years, but there are things we can do that will make this publication more valuable to readers and advertisers. We will be rolling out changes in the coming weeks and months that will help achieve that."

Miller, who grew up in LeFlore County, and Carpenter, who grew up in Oklahoma City, both graduated from the University of Oklahoma with bachelor degrees in journalism in 1976. Miller earned a master's degree in journalism education from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1983, and Carpenter earned a master's in communications from West Texas A&M in 1990.

Miller started his career at papers in Seminole, El Reno and Edmond before joining the staff at The Daily Oklahoman, where he was an assistant editor. He left the state in 1984 to work for a variety of papers in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

"We have both done pretty much every job in the newspaper business, from writing/reporting, ad sales, photography, as well as upper management. Those skills, along with those of our employees, can make our newspapers better."

Carpenter has written for The Daily Oklahoman, The Denver Post and The Aspen Times, as well as many other daily and weekly newspapers. He also served as an intern photographer for Sports Illustrated and Time magazines in 1975.

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