Grimes, McGovern & Associates Represented Blade-Empire Publishing Company Acquired by Sweet Tea Media

FEBRUARY 5, 2024

Sweet Tea Media, owned and operated by Kevin and Angie Zadina of Seward, Neb., finalized a deal with the Blade-Empire Publishing Company shareholders to purchase the assets that include The Concordia Blade-Empire, the Beloit Call, The Miltonvale Record and Print 5.

“One of the things that made the group of newspapers attractive to us is how the papers and communities remind me of the communities where we have newspapers. After moving to Seward, I learned that community journalism helps make our communities what they are. We like to tell the stories of our area and people,” Kevin Zadina said.

The Zadinas purchased a group of five newspapers from Enterprise Publishing in 2022 that includes the Seward County Independent, The Milford Times, The Crete News, The Friend Sentinel and the Wilber Republican.

Kevin Zadina, who grew up in Superior, Neb., has been working in the newspaper industry for 40 years. He started as a sportswriter at the Hastings (Neb.) Tribune while attending Hastings College.

After working for five different newspapers, Zadina moved to Seward from Beatrice, Neb., and managed the group of five weekly papers for several years before purchasing them.

Angie Zadina manages the accounting and bookkeeping duties for Sweet Tea Media.

Along with the five papers, Sweet Tea Media also has a print shop and a marketing company.

“When the decision was made nearly two years ago to try to sell the papers there was an emphasis placed on trying to find a buyer who has an understanding of small towns and community journalism. We know we have found that in Kevin and Angie Zadina,” Jim Lowell, Blade-Empire managing editor and member of the board of directors, said. “I believe that newspapers still serve a vital role in today’s society and covering what is happening at the local level is important. We wanted to make sure that will continue.”

Because the business model for newspapers has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, there will be changes in the operation.

“I think the commitment that Art, Brad, Jay and Jim Lowell have given to the community for so many years is what loyal newspaper people do. The Lowells have a current staff that has been working to get a newspaper out each week and we look forward to working with them,” Kevin Zadina said. “We also look forward to what we can bring to the Print 5 location with additional printing services.”

Kevin and Angie Zadina have three daughters, and Kevin enjoys spending time at Lovewell Lake.

Advisory services for Blade-Empire Publishing Company were exclusively provided by Tim Smith, Senior Associate of Grimes, McGovern & Associates.

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