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September 8, 2022

Local news makes comeback with acquisition of four local papers

Photo | Google Maps Felter's Mill in Millbury, once home to The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle

Four Gannett-owned local newspapers, which were closed or announced to be closing, will be acquired by New Jersey firm, CherryRoad Media Inc. and will return to, or continue operation.

The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, The Grafton News, The Landmark in Holden, and the Leominster Champion were all going to be closed as a result of August cutbacks by Virginia publishing giant Gannett, the owner of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, following the announcement of a poor second quarter by the company.

The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle reported early Thursday morning that the paper and the other three outlets would be purchased, saving them from permanent closure. WBJ confirmed the report with Cherry Road CEO, Jeremy Gulban.

“We have reached an agreement with Gannett to acquire these publications.  Specific details around the transition are still being worked out, but the priority will be on making sure The Landmark continues to publish after its previously scheduled close date of next Thursday.  We are looking forward to getting to know these communities and continuing to provide high quality local news coverage,” said Gulban to WBJ via email.

Gulban said that he hopes to retain current staff and add back additional staff as the process moves forward.

Kristen Payson of The Landmark confirmed that she will continue as the paper’s editor after the transition to new ownership, but does not know who will take over as editors of the other papers.

Gulban plans on continuing to print the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, The Landmark, and the Grafton News, and hopes to bring back the print edition of the Leominster Champion, but says it may take a few months to work out.

“The printed product is very much a part of our strategy,” said Gulban. 

Acquiring its first paper in 2020, CherryRoad Media owns 64 newspapers in 10 states currently, mostly in the Midwest and South, according to its website. The acquisition of the four Massachusetts papers would be the company’s first move into New England.

Cherry Road Media is a subsidiary of CherryRoad Technologies Inc.,  a New Jersey IT services company, offering cloud, networking, consulting, and managed IT services.

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