Media giant acquires newspaper group
A diversified media giant has purchased the publishing and printing network of a newspaper group in the region.
New York-based Hearst said last week it acquired the business operations of The Pioneer Group in Big Rapids, which had been a fourth-generation, family owned company run by Jack Batdorff and John Batdorff.
The group operates two daily newspapers, The Pioneer and Manistee News Advocate, three weekly papers, four local shopper publications and a digital marketing business.
John Norton, publisher of The Pioneer, will continue in his role following the acquisition.
Norton said The Pioneer Group’s markets will benefit from Hearst’s “major investments” in “digital marketing solutions,” which he said will add “more choices and value” for customers.
The acquisition furthers Hearst’s footprint in Michigan. The company also operates the Huron Daily Tribune and Midland Daily News.
Mark Aldam, Hearst Newspapers president, said the acquisition is an “essential part of our desire to further serve readers in Michigan.”
John Batdorff said Hearst has the “resources and specific expertise” across many media platforms to take the group and its products to “a whole new level.”
Jack Batdorff said he expects Hearst will be “good stewards” of the community.
"They have a reputation for giving back and for taking care of their people, which has always been important to our family,” he said.
Hearst operates more than 360 businesses in the areas of media, information and services.
Hearst Newspapers is an operating group responsible for Hearst’s newspapers, local digital marketing businesses and directories.
Hearst Newspapers publishes 19 dailies and 61 weeklies, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.