There is no better source of information about a community than its newspaper.
That’s the sentiment of J. Louis Mullen, the new owner of the Emmons County Record in Linton, North Dakota, and the Prairie Pioneer in Pollock, South Dakota.
Mullen purchased the two newspapers on July 1 from long-time owners Allan and Leah Burke. After more than three decades of running newspapers, the Burkes decided it was time to enjoy retirement.
Julie Bergman of Grimes, McGovern & Associates represented the Burkes in the sale.
The Burkes purchased the Prairie Pioneer on Oct. 1, 1987, and the Emmons County Record on Oct. 1, 1993.
Leah and Allan both had journalism backgrounds.
The Burkes saw themselves as the caretakers of the newspapers, which have been around for generations.
Leah said that although selling the newspapers was tough, it was time to “pass the baton,” and Allan said they were happy to pass on that role to Mullen.
“We were impressed by Louie,” Allan said. “We are confident that his organization will provide a good future for the two newspapers.”
Mullen, who lives in Buffalo, Wyoming, with his wife and children, owns weekly newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. He grew up in the industry, starting as a paperboy for the Sioux City Journal at 4 years old and serving in every position in a newspaper from janitor to reporter to publisher.
“(Newspapers) are the only vetted source to inform you about the government and people and businesses who matter to you,” Mullen said. “In an era of fake news and hyperbole for the sake of likes, there needs to be a centered source of information you can trust. The people in North Dakota know this to be true. They aren’t prisoners to the loudest voices of a few people online they’ve never met like so many of our coastal neighbors. That helps make and keep a cohesive community. As long as that holds true, community newspapers will continue to be a valuable asset for me and for your town.”
The Pioneer and the Record are now under Mobridge Publishing, joining the Mobridge Tribune in Mobridge, South Dakota; the Potter County News in Gettysburg, South Dakota; and the West River Eagle in Eagle Butte, South Dakota.
Kelsey Majeske, the new publisher of the Pioneer and the Record, said the priority will be to continue the tradition of strong local news coverage. Majeske publishes the other Mobridge Publishing weeklies, as well as four weekly newspapers in North Dakota under a different corporation.