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Stephens Media Group Buys Magie Newspapers

2 min read

Stephens Media Group of Las Vegas said late Tuesday that it has purchased the Magie Enterprises newspapers in Jacksonville, Cabot, Sherwood, Carlisle and Lonoke.

The purchase comes not long after the death in March of the newspapers’ long-time publisher, Cone Magie. He was 81.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Per the deal, Stephens Media will acquire the weekly Cabot Star-Herald, Carlisle Independent, Lonoke Democrat, and Sherwood Voice, and the semi-weekly Jacksonville Patriot. Also included is the Weekend Edition, a total-market-coverage publication.

Of those, the Cabot newspaper is the largest, with a 12-month average circulation of 7,769, according to the Arkansas Press Association.

The purchase is the latest for the Stephens Media Group, which is part of a holding company co-owned by Little Rock financier Warren Stephens and his cousins, siblings Witt Stephens Jr. and Elizabeth Stephens Campbell.

Last year, the company bought the weeklies The Times of North Little Rock and Maumelle Monitor from Kitty and Dave Chism’s KDC Communications. The Times has an average 12-month paid circulation of 5,971; the Monitor boasts a circulation of 2,536.

The deal puts Stephens interests in competition with Garrick Feldman’s Leader Publishing Inc. of Jacksonville, which publishes The Leader newspaper and other circulars in Jacksonville and Cabot. The semi-weekly Leader reports average 12-month paid circulation of 11,659. Like many Arkansas newspapers, The Leader publishes syndicated content from Stephens Media reporters and columnists.

The Stephens Media Group owns 42 newspapers in Arkansas, Hawaii, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Morning News in northwest Arkansas. It also has news bureaus in Little Rock and Washington D.C. The media company was created from the what was the Donrey Media Group, which Stephens purchased in 1993.

In a news report published late Tuesday on the Stephens Media Group’s news site, Dennis A. Byrd, publisher of The Times of North Little Rock, the Maumelle Monitor, and chief of the Arkansas News Bureau, was named publisher of the former Magie newspapers.

Byrd named Kenneth Jones advertising director for the company’s central Arkansas publications. Jones most recently was publisher of The Benton Courier. Byrd also said Eric Francis, managing editor of The Times of North Little Rock and the Maumelle Monitor, will be interim editor of the former Magie papers. Byrd said the search for an editor to oversee the newly acquired newspapers has begun.

A Family-owned Business

Cone and wife Betty founded the Cabot Star on Oct. 14, 1955. The following year, they consolidated their newspaper with the Cabot Herald, forming the Cabot Star-Herald. The company later expanded into other cities.

Cone Magie, president of the Arkansas Press Association in 1967, died March 27 in Hot Springs. In recent years, day-to-day management of the company had fallen to the Magie’s son, Mark, who is president and general manager. The Magies’ daughter, Shelly Magie Moran, is publisher and advertising manager of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette-owned semi-weekly Herald-Leader newspaper in Siloam Springs.

Mark Magie was APA president in 1999. His mother Betty was president in 1988.

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