Chain Buys 5 Arkansas Papers


Arkansas’ newest newspaper chain owner is now one of its largest, thanks to a five-newspaper deal with Rust Communications of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Jeremy Gulban, CEO of a New Jersey software and cloud services company who bought four north Arkansas papers last June, has purchased the Carroll County News in Berryville, the Lovely County Citizen in Eureka Springs, the Salem News, the Villager Journal of Cherokee Village and the Clay County Times-Democrat of Piggott/Rector.

No details of the transactions were released, but Gulban bought the papers through CherryRoad Media of Parsippany, New Jersey, the community newspaper offshoot of his computer services business, CherryRoad Technologies Inc.

The purchase was announced last week by the Arkansas Press Association and its executive director, Ashley Wimberley. The terms of the deal were not made public.

“We think there is a lot of potential for collaboration with our existing publications in Arkansas,” Gulban told Whispers on Wednesday.

No staffing changes were announced, but Gulban said CherryRoad was “getting to know the staff at each location and learning more about each of the communities.”

In June, CherryRoad bought The Mountaineer Echo of Flippin and the Marshall Mountain Wave from Jane and Dan Estes, and the Clay County Courier in Corning and the Pocahontas Star Herald from Corning Publishing, led by Thelma Rockwell and her son, Steve Rockwell.

In previous purchases, Gulban has left some local staffs intact and shifted others around.

The recent purchases left Gulban with nine papers in Arkansas, behind only Walter Hussman Jr.’s Wehco Media chain, which owns 14 dailies and weeklies in the state, and Paxton Media of Paducah, Kentucky, which has 11 Arkansas properties. Not bad for a guy who bought his first newspaper in November 2020.

Gulban, who sees a profitable publishing niche in small community papers, said that collaboration will be crucial.

“We are very excited to be adding these additional publications in Arkansas,” he said. “We feel like there are a lot of opportunities for these publications to work together with our four existing publications in the state. These publications have significantly more staff, especially in the area of sales, than our existing newspapers in Arkansas. So we think there are opportunities to leverage this staff across locations.”

He added that CherryRoad will “engage with the local business communities to understand how we can help them to better market their businesses and keep the dollars in the community.”

Since getting into the local newspaper business, CherryRoad Media has bought 63 newspapers in Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Twenty of the properties came in a sale from Gannett in September.