The Wilson Times Co. of Wilson, NC has purchased The Johnstonian News Group
The Wilson Times Co. of Wilson, NC has purchased the Kenly News, Pine Level News, Princeton News Leader and Selma News from Rick and Karen Stewart, owners of the newspapers since 1981.
The Stewarts are retiring and Keven Zepezauer, Times president and publisher, combined the four publications into a countywide weekly newspaper under the Johnstonian News banner.
“While each paper covers its community well, we believe it makes sense to centralize Johnston County’s local news in one edition to serve readers of each city and town together,” Zepezauer said. “As one of the fastest-growing counties in North Carolina, Johnston deserves a local newspaper all residents can call their own.”
The Johnstonian News premiered Tuesday, Sept. 4, The paper will continue to be based at 201 W. Second St. in Kenly.
The Stewarts purchased the Kenly News in December 1981 from Hart and Florence Mershon, who had owned the paper since 1975. The paper was founded in 1973 by the late Lewis Lawrence of Fuquay-Varina, with the assistance of North Johnston High School students.
The Kenly News added the Pine Level edition of the Kenly News, which evolved into the Pine Level News. In 2000, the Stewarts and Dennis Davis of Selma started The Selma News.
When Davis retired, the Stewarts became sole owners. In 2015, the Stewarts purchased The Princeton News Leader from former publisher Barry Merrill.
“We are excited about what the Times is going to do,” said Rick Stewart. “We believe Keven and his staff will take local coverage to a much higher level, in print and online, than we could ever have done.”
The Wilson Times Co. publishes the Times, a 122-year-old daily newspaper; Wide Awake Wilson, a monthly entertainment guide; and Wilson: The Magazine.
The company’s chairman and CEO is Morgan Dickerman III, the newspaper’s fifth-generation family owner.
Ken Blum, senior associate with Grimes, McGovern & Associates, represented the Stewarts.
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