Paxton purchases O'Bannon family newspapers | Local News

Paxton purchases O’Bannon family newspapers | Local News

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Two well-established southern Indiana newspapers owned by O’Bannon Publishing Co. Inc. have been sold to Paxton Media Group. The sale was official Thursday.

Sold was The Corydon Democrat and Clarion News along with the company’s print shop, Corydon Instant Print.

The O’Bannon family told employees of the sale Wednesday morning prior to a management team from Paxton arriving to introduce themselves to the staff. Based in Paducah, Paxton also owns The News-Enterprise.

Judy O’Bannon, chairman of the board and widow of Frank L. O’Bannon, told employees they should be proud of the work they’ve done that led to a company wanting to buy the newspapers and print shop.

The family cited the need for more, new and expanding resources to keep up with growing opportunities of a developing community as a reason why they decided to sell.

“You all have done a wonderful job of keeping the readers informed of what goes on in the community,” O’Bannon said. “Hopefully, the new owners, with their resources, will help you to continue that.”

The Corydon Democrat was founded in 1856. The O’Bannon family came into the newspaper business on Jan. 1, 1907, when Lewis M. O’Bannon bought one-half interest of The Corydon Democrat; he acquired the other half interest after the co-owner, Charles Benjamin Ellis, died that summer and his widow sold it to O’Bannon.

Lew O’Bannon’s son, Robert P. O’Bannon, succeeded him as the newspaper’s owner. Frank L. O’Bannon, Robert’s son, became chairman of the board, a position he held until his death on Sept. 13, 2003, while serving his second term as Indiana’s governor. His widow, the former Judy Asmus, succeeded him as chairman of O’Bannon Publishing Co. Their son, Jonathan O’Bannon and daughter-in-law, the former Saundra (Soni) Thieneman, serve as president/publisher and vice chairwoman/chief operating officer, respectively.

A second newspaper, the Clarion News, became part of the family business in 1992. Corydon Instant Print also opened in 1992.

Paxton Media Group also is a family-owned business. James T.S. Paxton is president CEO and the fifth generation of the Paxton family to manage the company. It was founded in 1896 in Paducah. It has expanded to include 100-plus newspapers, both dailies and weeklies in several states and WPSD-TV in Paducah.

Its offerings in Southern Indiana include the papers in Paoli, Jasper, Madison, Tell City, Boonville and North Vernon.

“The purchase of The Corydon Democrat and Clarion News fits our geographic footprint,” said Mike Weafer, one of Paxton’s group publishers.

He said Paxton is one of a few companies that continues to purchase newspapers because of its “belief and faith” in the industry.

“We realize (newspapers) importance to their communities,” Weafer said.

Paxton is poised “to endure the pressures of the newspaper industry,” he added.

While ownership of the two newspapers has changed, along with that of Corydon Instant Print, Weafer said there are no plans to make changes in personnel, deadlines or publication dates.

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