Sentinel-Progress under new ownership

By: Staff Report

PICKENS COUNTY – Champion Media announced Thursday that it has acquired the South Carolina and North Carolina print, digital and local assets of Heartland, a Civitas Media company that includes The Sentinel-Progress, The Newberry Observer in Newberry and The Union Times in Union.

The South Carolina publications also include The Grapevine and The Shopper, two free weekly publication in Union and Newberry, respectively.

The acquisition includes six daily newspapers in North Carolina — The Robesonian in Lumberton, The Mount Airy News, The Richmond County Daily Journal in Rockingham, The Sampson Independent in Clinton, The Laurinburg Exchange and The Jefferson Post — as well as 16 weekly newspapers — Your Carolina Connection, The Bladen Journal in Elizabethtown, The Anson Record in Wadesboro, Surry Scene, The Elkin Tribune, Elkin Advertiser, The Yadkin Ripple, The Stokes News, The Pilot Mountain News, and The Carroll News.

The announcement was made by Scott T. Champion, CEO of Champion Media. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition expands Champion Media Newspapers’ stable of news properties to six dailies and 21 weeklies in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Minnesota and Virginia.

“This investment strengthens Champion Family Newspapers’ commitment to the local communities of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, serving as a local news source. The strength of local newspapers is as vital today as they were 50 years ago,” Champion said. “We are proud of all the employees that come together each day to bring their communities a credible news product, being either in print or digital.”

The new properties have a combined weekly circulation of approximately 225,000 households and a monthly digital reach of over four million unique visitors. Most of the newspapers have a rich history of serving their communities for well over 100 years.

“Civitas Media is a leading community newspaper group servicing many local markets in 11 states,” Champion added. “Civitas newspapers have been providing leading news coverage for decades and we intend engaging with its employees to continue enhancing our content coverage and important service across the North Carolina and South Carolina communities.”

“We are delighted to have Scott Champion, our former COO and a leading media executive in the United States, acquire Civitas’ North Carolina and South Carolina properties,” said Lior Yahalomi, Civitas CEO. “I would like to personally thank all of our Civitas North Carolina and South Carolina employees for the many years of dedicated and professional service. I wish them a great transition becoming an important part of the Champion Media newspaper business.”

About Champion Media LLC

Champion Media of Mooresville, N.C., is a new entity formed by Scott and Corey Champion. Scott Champion has over 40 years of experience in the newspaper industry, educated by his family operating competitive shoppers dating back to the mid 1960’s.

In his career, Scott Champion has operated both small and large newspaper companies including American Publishing, Liberty Group Publishing, GateHouse Media and OCM. His current portfolio includes MCM Media, MCM Ohio and now Champion Media.

Corey Champion graduated from The University of Iowa with his bachelor’s degree in Business Finance and Entrepreneurship along with his master’s degree in Accounting. Corey then started his career with Kohler Company in Kohler, Wis., before his relocation to North Carolina. Corey Champion is joining Scott in Champion Media as the Controller.

About Civitas Media LLC

Civitas Media encompasses more than 100 publications, many of which have served their communities for more than a century. Civitas, Latin for “community” or “citizen” is a union of four media entities formerly known as Heartland Publications, Freedom Central, Impressions Media and Ohio Community Media.

Civitas Media LLC was represented by Dirks Van Essen & Murray in the transaction.

Staff Report