GateHouse Media is buying The Pueblo Chieftain, the oldest daily newspaper in Colorado, from the Rawlings family-owned The Star-Journal Publishing Corp.
The sale was expected to close in mid-June. Terms of the transaction were not released. Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, the mergers and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, N.M. represented the Rawlings family in the transaction.
In an announcement, 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.
Rawlings took control of The Chieftain in October 2016. Her father, Robert Hoag Rawlings, owner, publisher and editor of the newspaper for decades, died in March 2017.
“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.
“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 added.
“We are honored that the Rawlings family has chosen us to continue the stewardship of this great community newspaper for years to come,” Jason Taylor, president of Western U.S. Publishing Operations for GateHouse Media, said in announcing the sale to the newspaper’s staff.
“GateHouse looks forward to leveraging our national resources to support the community that will enhance quality of life and help create a stronger community,” he added.
In an article about the transaction, Chieftain managing editor Steve Henson traced the history of the newspaper this way:
“The Chieftain roots go back to June 1, 1868, when Dr. Michael Beshoar established a weekly newspaper, The Colorado Chieftain.
“A businessman hired by the Star-Journal by the name of Frank Hoag would change the newspaper — and Pueblo — forever. By 1918, Hoag had worked his way up in the newspaper ranks and purchased the paper. The Star-Journal Publishing Corp. was born.
“Eventually, Hoag bought The Colorado Chieftain, and it became The Pueblo Chieftain.
“Through the 20th century and beyond, Hoag, his son Frank Hoag Jr., Hoag Sr.’s grandson, Robert Hoag Rawlings, and Rawlings’ daughter, Jane Rawlings, would leave an indelible imprint on the Pueblo and Southern Colorado communities.”