Under new ownership

Don L. Hurd (clockwise from right), Hometown Media CEO, looks over an issue of The Paper of Wabash County with Wayne Rees, Sam Frieden, Julie Frieden and Mike Rees. Photo by Joseph Slacian.

Since 1977 the Rees family has owned and operated The Paper of Wabash County. As 2019 begins, the Rees’ journalistic services to Wabash County have come to an end.

"The times we had were just great, when you think back," Wayne Rees said.

The Rees family has sold The Paper of Wabash County and the North Manchester News-Journal to Hometown Media, Inc. Hometown Media, is associated with Hoosier Media Group that already owns and operates weekly publications in Benton, White, Steuben, Lake and Pulaski counties. Hometown Media is dedicated to providing solid local news to its readers each and every week.

“We are very happy and excited to have purchased The Paper of Wabash County and the North Manchester News-Journal newspapers,” said Don L. Hurd, Hometown Media, Inc. and Hoosier Media Group founder and CEO. “All of our newspapers are hyper-local. We will be featuring stories about the people and places of Wabash County that our readers will love.
“I call it refrigerator journalism because my parents would always cut out articles about their children and post them proudly on their refrigerator for all to see.”

Hurd is a 39-year publishing veteran in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. His career in print media started when he was 11-years-old as a paperboy for the Warsaw Times Union. He grew up in the Warsaw area. Hurd went to Mentone High School and was in the first graduating class at Tippecanoe Valley. Hurd was also the first Viking mascot at Valley.

At one point in his long career, Hurd was president of more than 30 newspapers in Indiana and Illinois. He is a graduate of Ball State University with degrees in telecommunications, marketing and journalism.

Hurd has been the recipient of more than 80 national and state advertising, editorial and graphic design awards. He was also a 16-year Hoosier State Press Association Board member, and served as the HSPA Association President and Vice President. Additionally, Hurd served on the Illinois Press Board of Directors and was President of the Indiana Advertising Executives Association.

The Hometown Media staff has more than 100 years of combined local community newspaper experience. Each staff member is totally focused on keeping local journalism alive and vibrant.

“We look forward to working with the residents of Wabash County to provide them with all-local news community newspapers. We want our readers to be proud of their hometown newspaper,” said Hurd. “We encourage all local residents to let us know what they want to see within their local newspaper.”

Hometown Media looks forward to working with the current The Paper staff to continue the great community service the Rees Family provided.

"If I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing. I've just enjoyed working everyday with my dad," Julie Frieden (Wayne’s daughter) added.

Mike Rees said, “We were very grateful for the support that Wabash has given us for the last 41 years. I know the reason we were successful was because of employees and the people of Wabash County. I will never forget that. Thank you.”

“I am just thankful for the support of our commercial printing accounts,” said Sam Frieden, who oversaw that aspect of the business. “We always approached these jobs as though it was a partnership between us and our clients. One of our main goals was knowing how the client was going to use the printed piece and then making any design suggestions that could improve the efficiency and cost of the end product. It has been a pleasure serving our clients and growing with them.”

To sum it all up, Wayne Rees said, "The main thing is we want to thank everybody in the community.  They've been so good to us. You don't forget that and you can't forget it.”

Posted on 2019 Jan 08