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Gulf Coast weeklies sold to Campbell Newspapers

Wednesday, December 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Editor
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Campbell Newspapers, LLC, of Gilbertown, Ala., is pleased to announce the acquisition, effective Jan. 2, 2018, of three publications -- The Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, The Ocean Springs Record, and the Ocean Springs Gazette.

Owners and co-publishers Tommy and Dee Ann Campbell are veteran community newspaper professionals who have dedicated their lives to publishing top-quality "ultra local" newspapers and said they are excited about the opportunity to bring a new direction to these papers that have served the Mississippi Gulf Coast for many years.

Bobby Martin, Chairman of Bay Corporation, said that he is pleased with the agreement and is confident the two newspapers being sold by his group, the Biloxi-D'Iberville Press and the Ocean Springs Record, are being transferred into good hands.

"I'd like to wish the Campbells much success in operating the papers," Martin said. "We had owned the Biloxi-D'Iberville Press and Ocean Springs Record for several years and just felt that the time was right."

Martin said that he is also pleased that Cindy Picard, who has been with the papers for several years, will remain on board as general manager.

The Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, which has published since 1973, will continue to publish under its current name.

The Ocean Springs Record, which was established in 1965, and the Ocean Springs Gazette, which has served the community since 2009, will be merged into one combined weekly publication, The Ocean Springs Gazette & Record, to better serve the community.

Gazette owners James and Cindy Ricketts said they are pleased to have the Gazette and Record merge to combine the strengths of both into a single paper serving the community.

“Since buying the Gazette in 2012, we’ve hoped there would come a time we could combine the Gazette and the Record. With what the Campbells have planned, it’s going to happen,” said Ricketts, who ran the O.S. Record for Gannett from 1990 to 1999 before buying it in 2001 and selling it to Bay Corporation in 2007. “It will ensure the community is well served by a local newspaper while allowing us to devote our energies to the printing business.”

Ricketts said the Campbells' being personally involved in the operations of the paper promises a continuation of the local commitment he and Cindy have had over the years.

“Our experiences with the Record and Gazette have proven to us the importance of local ownership, and we’re confident the Campbells share that vision,” Ricketts said. “We believe this arrangement will serve the long-term interests of Ocean Springs, and we’ll be here to help make it successful in any way we can. We wish the Campbells well, and we have every expectation they will do well – and our town will be served well.”

Beginning immediately, the Campbells said, readers will see exciting changes in both papers.
The new, combined Ocean Springs paper will debut on Jan. 4 with a new design, more news, features, outspoken and proactive locally-written editorials and commentaries, sports and feature stories about the people, places and events that make Ocean Springs' world turn.

Similar changes will also be made at the Biloxi-D'Iberville paper over the weeks ahead.
Those who currently subscribe to either of the two O.S. papers will see no interruption in their subscription service and will begin receiving the new combined publication effective with next week's edition.

For now, both papers will share the same office, at 819 Jackson Street, in Biloxi. However, readers in the Ocean Springs area will continue to be able to drop off news items, photos, calendar events, subscription orders and other items for the Gazette & Record at the Ricketts' American Printing office, located at 3064-B Bienville Avenue.

In addition, complete re-designs of both papers' websites are underway -- featuring digital e-Paper subscriptions and breaking news alerts -- and a much stronger social media presence, with completion expected by early 2018.

The Campbells bring with them experience from several award-winning publications. In Alabama, for example, the Campbells' Choctaw Sun-Advocate -- which they started from scratch in 2003 as The Choctaw Sun, and then in 2007 purchased and merged into that paper their 117-year old competitor, The Choctaw Advocate --  has won more than 300 awards in the Alabama Press Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest for everything from best news, best opinions, best sports, best education news, best business news, best sports, best photographs, best layout and design and -- on several occasions -- public service awards for community involvement, and Freedom of Information Awards for calling the public's attention to things that some local governmental leaders would rather not have been publicized.

"Tommy and I believe in proactive community journalism," Dee Ann said. "We believe in comprehensive news coverage that digs deeper into the issues that affect lives. We also believe in telling the stories that are the heart and soul of the community – the stories of veterans whose memories need to be preserved for history, the stories of people who have suffered hardships and whose courage can inspire us, and the stories of the sometimes-forgotten people who make the community what it is. We believe in capturing moments in time through our camera lenses and our written word in order to provide the best community newspapers possible.

"We are excited about becoming a part of the communities of Ocean Springs and Biloxi-D’Iberville and can’t wait to start working alongside the existing staff members who are already such an integral part of news coverage in the area," Dee Ann said.

"We take our journalistic responsibilities to the communities we serve very seriously," Tommy said. "Our staff will be there in times of tragedy and in times of celebration, and you can look to the Press and the Gazette & Record for the unbiased, factual information that allows the entire community to share in and try to understand those experiences.

Lewis Floyd, Senior Associate with W.B. Grimes, represented the sellers in the purchase.

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