Merger to take place immediately – new paper to be called The Times-Voice

JACKSON, KY January 7, 2008: The reading habits of Breathitt Countians will be changing, as The Breathitt County Voice and The Jackson Times announced today the merger of the two papers, effective immediately.

The merger combines the award-winning tradition of the Voice, and the long, rich 120-year history of the Times, into one paper which will be called The Times-Voice. The first edition of the new publication will hit newsstands on Wednesday, January 21st.

The combining of the two papers was made complete today (Wednesday, January 7th) as Glenn Gray, Vice-President of Nolan Group Operations, and Intermountain Publishing Company, which owns the Times signed the agreement with James David Fugate, President of Community Communications, Inc., which owns the Voice. The asset merger between Community Communications and Intermountain Publishing Company lets the two companies merge their separate publications.

Fugate, who becomes part owner of Intermountain Publishing, will be General Manager of the Times-Voice, while current Voice staff members Cheryl Campbell and Jeff Noble will also be a part of the merged papers. Campbell will be performing much of the same duties for the Times-Voice as she has for the Voice, while Noble has been named editor for the merged papers, effective immediately. They’ll join Times staffers Jeanie Noble, who will continue to work for the new paper in composition, and John Boggs, who will continue as a reporter for the Times-Voice. Headquarters and offices for the Times-Voice will be at 1001 College Avenue in Jackson, the present location of the Times. Their sister publication, the Beattyville Enterprise, will continue to be composed at the Times office.

“I am very excited about the opportunity that’s before us,” Gray said this morning after the merger agreement was made. “I think it’s going to be a bonus for our readers and our community, but more so I’m thrilled about the quality of people that the Voice is bringing to the table, who will be joining the quality people we have at the Times. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with James David Fugate. He’s a great person, and he’ll bring a lot of excitement to this new venture.”

“We believe our readers and advertisers will be getting the best of both worlds with the Times-Voice,” said Fugate after he and Gray shook hands on the agreement. “You might say a stronger voice and better times are ahead for all of those who look forward each week to these publications. The Jackson Times has a heritage that extends well over 100 years, and it’s the paper most of us grew up with. The Breathitt County Voice has emerged over the past few years as an award-winning publication. In fact, last year the Voice was Eastern Kentucky’s most celebrated newspaper in its class. This merger is truly a coming together that we believe will be of great interest.”

Intermountain Publishing Company is a part of the Nolan Group based in Manchester, which presently owns and operates The Jackson Times, as well as the Beattyville Enterprise, the Booneville Sentinel, the Leslie County News, the Pineville Sun, the Jackson County Sun, the Berea Citizen, the Barbourville Mountain Advocate Messenger, and their flagship paper, the Manchester Enterprise. In addition, Nolan owns and operates a commercial printing facility in Manchester, which serves customers from all over Kentucky and Tennessee. And they also own and operate radio station WWXL-AM in Manchester.

Founded in 1992 by Elesha Richardson and Delores Chandler, the Breathitt County Voice was bought by Community Communications in 2003. In 2007 the number of awards received by the Voicefrom the Kentucky Press Association for news and advertising excellence in its newspaper division was more than any other paper in eastern Kentucky’s Weekly Class 1. Its sports page/section has taken the state’s top honor in this division.

Established on December 28th, 1888 as The Jackson Hustler, the Times is the oldest surviving newspaper in Breathitt County. The Times is best remembered for the work and leadership of the late Louise B. Hatmaker, its longtime Editor-Publisher and Owner. A longtime Board Member of the Kentucky Press Association, she was named Most Valuable Member by the KPA in 1997 for her 22 years of service to that organization. A graduate of what is now the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg and what’s now Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ms. Hatmaker taught first grade at the Hardburly Mining Company school in Perry County. She was hired as a “Cub Reporter” at the Hazard Herald, and in the early 1960’s reported roving pickets strife in the coalfields. After a long career with the Times, she retired in 1995, and passed away on May 25, 2003. That same year, Ms. Hatmaker was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Telecommunications.

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