A letter of intent to sell the assets of Somerset Newspapers Inc. to Schurz Communications Inc. of South Bend, Indiana, has been signed by David and Ronie Reiley, according to John T. Cribb of Bolitho-Cribb & Associates, who represents the seller in the pending transaction. The agreement is subject to a definitive sales contract with transfer of ownership to occur later this year.

Somerset Newspapers publishes the Daily American, a 13,659 circulation Monday through Saturday daily newspaper; the Somerset County Shopper, a 35,748 circulation free-distribution weekly; and the Somerset County and Greater Johnston area EZ to Use telephone directories. According to the announcement, the Reileys will retain ownership of the directories.

Schurz Communications Inc. is a family-owned and operated newspaper company based at the South Bend Tribune, in South Bend. The company also owns newspapers in Bloomington and Bedford, Indiana; Danville, Kentucky; and Springfield, Missouri; television stations in South Bend, Indiana, Roanoake, Virginia, Augusta, Georgia, and Springfield, Missouri; radio stations in Indiana; and cable systems in Maryland and Florida.

Reiley is the third generation of ownership of the Somerset newspaper. Henry Baker Reiley Sr. founded the newspaper in 1929, when he acquired the semi-weekly Somerset Herald. The first edition of the new daily was published July 1 of that year from its offices on West Union Street across from the Somerset County courthouse. Reiley moved the newspaper to 216 West Main Street, currently the home of Sentinel Printing Company, in 1930.

A staunch Republican, Reiley so opposed the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that he changed the name of his newspaper to the Daily American in August 1936. When Henrey Baker Reiley died in 1962, his son Henry Jr. became publisher. He initiated and supervised construction of the newspaper’s present building at 334 W. Main Street in 1966. Circulation about doubled during his ownership. After the first full year of his tenure in 1963, circulation was about 5,345. In 1984, at the year of his death, circulation had risen to 10,428.

Current circulation of the newspaper is 13,664, and it is expected to continue its record 29 consecutive years of circulation increase this year. David Reiley joined the family business in 1970 and became publisher when his father died.

Bolitho-Cribb & Associates is a publishing company brokerage firm located in Bozeman, Montana.

Published July 18, 1997

Somerset, PA