Argent Arkansas News Media has purchased the Forrest City Times-Herald and the Marianna Courier-Index from Weston and Kevin Lewey, according to Randy Cope of Cribb, Greene & Cope, who represented Times-Herald Publishing Company, Inc. in the transaction.
Argent Arkansas News Media is a newly formed company and the Times-Herald and Courier-Index are the only newspapers owned by the company as of this date. Argent is affiliated with other newspaper companies that own and operate newspapers throughout the United States and Canada with more than 175 publications comprised of daily and weekly newspapers and associated publications.
“We are pleased to assume responsibility for the Times-Herald and Courier-Index newspapers. We have a long history of operating community newspapers in small and mid-size communities and look forward to continuing the strong tradition of community journalism established by the McCollum and Lewey families,” said Roland McBride, an officer with Argent.
Publisher Weston Lewey said, “My grandfather purchased the Times-Herald in 1942. My father, Bonner McCollum, became publisher in 1963, followed by me in 1997. Throughout this time, our main focus has been strong community journalism. Over the last several years however, the newspaper industry has experienced many changes, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to remain independently owned. We felt the time was right to strengthen these two newspapers with a larger, established newspaper group which also shares a commitment to local journalism. We would like to thank our employees and the Forrest City and Marianna communities for their trust and for partnering with us over the years. We welcome Argent Arkansas News Media and believe they will be good stewards.” The Lewey family will still own and operate their printing and office supply business.
McBride indicated that no immediate changes to the daily operations of the newspapers are planned, other than to become acclimated to the operating standards that have been established through the years as the economy and the newspaper industry have evolved to serve the subscribers and advertisers.