The Ogden Newspapers is officially the new owner of The Frederick News-Post starting Monday.
The Randall and Delaplaine families have owned and operated The Frederick News-Post for 133 years across five generations. The Randalls announced in March that the family would sell the paper to Ogden, another five-generation family-owned company.
Ogden Newspapers dates to 1890, starting with the launch of the Wheeling News in Wheeling, West Virginia, where the company remains headquartered.
“We are thrilled to be here,” said Cameron Nutting, director of strategic operations and initiatives at Ogden Newspapers. “This is a market we have been looking to become a part of for a long time. It’s a beautiful area with a rich history and a great sense of identity.”
Nutting, who lives near Washington, D.C., is helping the paper as the transition manager and will be on-site for much of the next four or five months, she said.
Because the two companies are privately held and do not discuss financials, the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ogden purchased assets including the building and printing press, which The News-Post bought in 2006.
The transition included downsizing News-Post staff, though Nutting declined to give the exact number of News-Post employees who were let go. Nutting said the downsizing was necessary in order for the company to have long-term financial sustainability.
All employees who won’t be a part of The News-Post under the new ownership have been notified. Geordie Wilson, who has been publisher of The News-Post since 2011, will remain in that role.
“We are committed to this team,” Nutting said. “We’re confident that if you’re with us [today] that this is a sustainable size. “
Patrick B. Pexton, who joined The News-Post as editor in June 2015, was not offered employment under the new ownership. His position will be filled by a new editor in the coming weeks.
“Patrick is one of those all-stars that has been such a pleasure to work with,” Wilson said. “Patrick brought such a great eye for digging deeper in stories and helping a relatively young reporting staff up their game.”
Prior to serving as editor of The News-Post, Pexton was the ombudsman at The Washington Post.
“I took this job because I felt like I wanted to make a bigger impact in a smaller place like Frederick, rather than a smaller impact in a bigger place like Washington, D.C.,” Pexton said.
“I think what I’m most proud of is that the paper has become better-written, better-reported, and we have published deeper stories every day. I was hired to make the paper a better product and I think that’s what we did.”
With the Randall family no longer being a part of the paper, Wilson becomes the de facto local face of the newspaper, and he said he intends to get more involved in the community than he already has been.
Wilson, who lives in Frederick, is a board member with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, among other community organizations.
Nutting and Wilson each reiterated a commitment to community journalism during this transition. Ogden Newspapers owns more than 40 newspapers nationwide.
“We emphasize local control,” Nutting said. “Community newspapers are critical and will only survive when they focus on exclusive local content that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Single-site operations like The News-Post under the Randall family often struggle to meet the financial demands that go with operating a printing press and a newspaper.
“When you’re all alone in the world like we are, you have to bring in extraordinary talent within these four walls, which we have,” Wilson said. “When you move away from being a stand-alone operation, a couple things happen. First, the fate of the company does not rise based on every single thing we try. It doesn’t mean we can lose a bunch of money, but it takes some of the pressure off to knock everything out of the park.”