The Rochester (Indiana) Sentinel has been purchased by Paxton Media Group from owner and Publisher Sarah O. Wilson according to John Thomas Cribb of Cribb, Greene & Cope who represented the Wilson family in the sale. The sale was effective May 1st, 2019. A price was not disclosed. Wilson and her husband, Sentinel Editor W.S. Wilson, came to the Sentinel in 1982. Neither will remain with the company. 

“This is difficult and emotional because The Sentinel and its staff have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Wilson said. “But nothing lasts for ever. It is time for us to step aside and let the next generation take over.” Sarah Wilson’s father, the late Jack K. Overmyer, began working at The Sentinel while in high school, bought the paper in 1976 and passed ownership to her upon his death in 2010. 

The Sentinel is Fulton County’s oldest continually-operated business. Formed on Sept. 18, 1858, it is the consolidation of mergers involving The Rochester Standard, The Union Spy, The Rochester City Times, The Rochester Republican, The Fulton County Sun, The Daily News and The News-Sentinel. In recent years, Sentinel reporting and photography have been honored by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association, The Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. Three of its staffers have been inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame: Publishers Hugh Barnhart and Jack K. Overmyer and Akron columnist Ann Allen. 

“Rochester has been good to The Sentinel family and we are most appreciative. We plan to continue to live here, ” said Wilson. 

Paxton Media is a family-owned company headquartered in Paducah, Ky. It publishes daily and weekly newspapers in more than 50 communities in the Midwest and South, including nearby papers in Peru, Wabash, Marion and Huntington, Ind. “This business combination provides the financial security needed to assure the Sentinel will continue to serve its community long into the future,” said David Paxton, president and chief executive officer of Paxton Media Group. 

Bill Hackney has been named publisher of The Sentinel, according to David Holgate, president of Paxton’s Indiana Michigan Group. “I am happy to announce Bill Hackney as the publisher of The Rochester Sentinel,” Holgate said. “Bill has been with our company since 2011 in the role of publisher of LaPorte and Michigan City newspapers. Adding the additional responsibilities for The Rochester Sentinel is a natural progression for Bill. I am confident that our employees and the community will quickly learn what a quality person they have in Bill.” Hackney said he’s excited to lead the Sentinel. “I look forward to joining a team of talented professionals who are making a difference for Fulton County readers, advertisers and community,” Hackney said. “The Rochester Sentinel has a long history of being an integral part of the community and I look forward to seeing that continue.” 

“This is bittersweet,” Wilson said. “But we feel confident The Sentinel will be in good hands with the Paxton Group.” John Thomas Cribb of Cribb, Greene & Cope represented the Wilson family in the sale. Cribb, Greene & Cope is a leading merger and acquisitions firm with offices in Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, and California.