GateHouse Media to acquire Pueblo Chieftain

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The Star-Journal Publishing Corp. of Pueblo, Colo., has reached an agreement to sell The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper to GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based media in the United States.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, N.M., represented the Rawlings family in the transaction. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. 

GateHouse publishes more than 560 community papers, including 124 daily newspapers, along with over 485 affiliated websites, which reach more than 22 million people each week. GateHouse publications can be found in 38 states and 565 markets.

Jane Rawlings, president of the Star-Journal Publishing Corp. and publisher of The Pueblo Chieftain, said she and her board of directors spent months studying prospective buyers to find the right owner for the 150-year-old Chieftain – the oldest daily newspaper in Colorado and an institution that has played a key role in supporting and leading the community throughout the years.

Rawlings took control of The Chieftain in October 2016. In March 2017, her father, Robert Hoag Rawlings, owner, publisher and editor of the newspaper for decades, passed away.

"It was my dad's wish that The Chieftain would be sold upon his death, with proceeds to be placed in the Rawlings Foundation and that those funds would be used for the betterment of Pueblo and Southern Colorado," Rawlings said.

Jason Taylor, president of Western U.S. Publishing Operations for GateHouse Media, said his company is proud to be the new owner of the historic and iconic Chieftain.

"We are honored that the Rawlings family has chosen us to continue the stewardship of this great community newspaper for years to come," Taylor said.

Taylor said that GateHouse will be an extremely active partner with the Pueblo community. He cited the company's dedication to enhancing local news content and providing more opportunities for advertisers to grow their businesses.

"GateHouse looks forward to leveraging our national resources to support the community that will enhance quality of life and help create a stronger community," Taylor said.

Rawlings said it was important that the new owner of The Chieftain be a company committed to carrying on the legacy of owners and publishers Frank Hoag Sr., Frank Hoag Jr., her father and herself – to fight for water, for community projects, to put a spotlight on government and to celebrate the citizens, businesses and institutions that make Pueblo and Southern Colorado unique.

"My committee and I were excited to meet with GateHouse executives, who demonstrated their clear commitment to producing an outstanding local news report and to leave the opinion side of the newspaper – editorials, endorsements, etc. – under local control," Rawlings said.

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