Paxton Media acquires Tennessee newspapers

LEBANON, Tenn. -- Paxton Media Group has purchased the Lebanon Democrat, a daily newspaper in Lebanon, Tennessee, along with weekly newspapers in Mt. Juliet and Hartsville, Tennessee.

Paxton Media is a family-owned company headquartered in Paducah. The company publishes daily and weekly newspapers in more than 50 communities in the Midwest and South, including nearby papers in Portland and Lafayette, Tennessee.

"This business combination provides the financial security needed to assure the Lebanon Democrat, the Mt. Juliet News and the Hartsville Vidette will continue to serve their communities long into the future," said David Paxton, president and chief executive officer of Paxton Media Group.

The sale was jointly announced to the newspaper staff by Doug Phares, president of Sandusky Newspaper Group, and Mike Weafer, publisher of Paxton's Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro.

"I am excited to have the Lebanon Democrat, the Mt. Juliet News and the Hartsville Vidette in my group," Weafer said. "The strong foundation they have built in their communities has made them a natural fit for PMG. Being the primary source of news, a strong partner with our advertisers and the local business community, a watchdog when needed, and a bright light to shine upon all that is good in our communities are things we strive for every day. These papers have established a strong foundation for doing just that, and building upon that foundation will be our priority."

Paxton has acquired Lebanon Publishing's websites and digital operations and the newspaper's office building in downtown Lebanon.

"Selling the paper was a difficult decision for me and my family," said David Rau, CEO of Sandusky Newspapers Inc. "Ultimately, we decided that the tremendous changes in the media business over the past generation required much more scale than we could give it. The community and our audience could be better served by a larger company with more resources.

"We were fortunate to be able to turn the papers over to another family company with a proven legacy and reputation for coverage of local news. I believe Paxton will be good stewards over the long term."

Paxton also acquired from Sandusky The Grand Haven Tribune in Grand Haven, Mich. Rau said the sale of the Grand Haven and Lebanon operations leaves Sandusky with two newspapers in the Ohio group, two daily newspapers and three weeklies in its Northeastern Tennessee group, and interests in a variety of digital operations. He added the company is exploring strategic options in connection with a possible sale of the Ohio group.

"Our newspapers and digital operations in Northeastern Tennessee are our largest, and they are not for sale," Rau said.