Argent Arkansas News Media, an affiliate of Marion, Ill.-based Horizon Publications, has purchased two Arkansas dailies, the Forrest City Times-Herald and the Marianna Courier-Index, from Weston and Kevin Lewey.
The sale was reported by Randy Cope of Cribb, Greene & Cope, who represented Times-Herald Publishing Company Inc. in the transaction. No terms of the deal were disclosed.
Argent Arkansas News Media is a newly formed company and the Times-Herald and Courier-Index are the only newspapers owned by the company as of this date. Argent is affiliated with Horizon companies that own and operate more than 175 dailies, weeklies and associated publications throughout the United States and Canada.
“We are pleased to assume responsibility for the Times-Herald and Courier-Index newspapers,” said Roland McBride, an officer with Argent. “We have a long history of operating community newspapers in small and mid-size communities and look forward to continuing the strong tradition of community journalism established by the McCollum and Lewey families.”
Publisher Weston Lewey said, “My grandfather purchased the Times-Herald in 1942. My father, Bonner McCollum, became publisher in 1963, followed by me in 1997. Throughout this time, our main focus has been strong community journalism. Over the last several years however, the newspaper industry has experienced many changes, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to remain independently owned. We felt the time was right to strengthen these two newspapers with a larger, established newspaper group which also shares a commitment to local journalism. We would like to thank our employees and the Forrest City and Marianna communities for their trust and for partnering with us over the years. We welcome Argent Arkansas News Media and believe they will be good stewards.”
The Lewey family will still own and operate their printing and office supply business.
McBride indicated that no immediate changes to the daily operations of the newspapers are planned.