Whenever a publication is acquired by a new owner, there is a level of uncertainty within the staff. But for the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville, Ky., since being purchased by Paxton Media Group, there have been only been positive steps forward.
In 2018, Paxton Media Group, a family-owned community newspaper group based in Paducah, Ky., acquired the New Era and four smaller newspapers in the surrounding communities (Dawson Springs Progress, Princeton Times Leader, Providence Journal-Enterprise and Oak Grove Eagle Post). Shortly after the acquisition, Brandon Cox stepped into the role of publisher for the New Era.
"When I got here, we had a whole bunch of standalone properties all within 30 to 45 minutes of each other operating independently, and we've really tried to turn it into a collaborative atmosphere," Cox said.
In addition, the newspapers cut back on wire service reporting in favor of local headlines. Instead of sending multiple reporters from each paper to cover the same event--as was done in the past--one reporter would cover the event and share the content with the other publications.
A year after the acquisition, the New Era celebrated an important milestone: its 150th anniversary was on Nov. 16, 2019. The New Era published a special edition that included a section about the newspaper's history. The staff had also hoped to move into their new downtown office by the anniversary date, but construction delayed the grand opening. Instead, the open house was rescheduled to January 2020.
The new office is an old J.C. Penny building redesigned to include a front reception desk; a newsroom with a view of Main Street; offices for the editor and publisher,
IT and advertising; a conference room; and restrooms. There is also a break room that doubles as a workspace. The news space includes a 100-plus-year-old exposed brick wall that will be used as a backdrop...