2 of 3 closed North Dakota papers bought

Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 2:55 PM CST
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Two North Dakota newspapers are back in business after last week's announcement that they would be closed. New editions of the papers came out Friday under new ownership.

While shoppers were making deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, a local newspaper was making their own deal to bring back community journalism.

Don't call it a comeback. Two of three papers expected to close last week are back in business. The Adams County Record and the The Herald in New England were purchased by another local paper.

"(Country Media) told me at the time that the newspapers were profitable, but that the profit just didn't justify the amount of time it was taking them to keep them properly managed," said Steve Andrist, Executive Director for the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

After the announcement of their closing, Andirst called Jill Friesz of Grant County News and Carson Press, asking if she could take them on. Within a couple days, Country Media, the previous owners of the papers, agreed to sell 2 of them to Friesz.

"They're close to you. Is there anything you can do to help out? Would you consider taking over these newspapers? And at the time, I really had no desire to or want or anything to grow the business. But I can't see community newspapers close. Those really are the heartbeats of the community," said Friesz.

A deal for the papers were reached on Monday; only one weekend separating the anticipated closures. Friesz said it's not resurrection. It's revitalization.

"Really just breathe a little bit of life into it and hope the community buys in and really, really enjoys the product that we put out, and enjoys the newspaper,” Friesz said.

However, there is one major hurdle facing The Herald. In Friesz's letter in the paper, she said there is no staff in New England.

Not only does the business continue, but the operator will be based just one county over, which Friesz said will make the news more local. Adding that the Hungerfords, who own Country Media were "exceptional to work with" and have been helpful during the transition.

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