A federal judge in April had approved the sale of Charleston Gazette-Mail. The bankruptcy judge decreed that HD Media could be the new owners. Doug Reynolds, the managing partner of HD Media, has named a few of the local investors who had joined hands with him to purchase the newspaper. The list of local investors includes three trial attorneys from Charleston and Reynolds' former colleague in West Virginia House of Delegates. Another investor is a banking and insurance professional.
Old owners and the new ones
Prior to HD Media and Reynolds, Charleston's Chilton family owned Gazette-Mail from the time the Charleston Daily Mail and Charleston Gazette merged in 2015. Charleston Gazette was owned by Chilton family for about a century.
As per Reynolds, the investors, now holding membership of the board of directors in the new company, are still trying to figure out a few aspects of operating the company. This is as they all have a number of local interests. They also have community ties. The latter aspect would be beneficial to newspaper operations. Reynolds said since they are from different communities and industries, it will be possible for them to enjoy a wide swathe of interest in what goes into the market.
A minority investor in this purchase is Kanawha County Commissioner and attorney of Charleston, Ben Salango. Reynolds confirmed Salango's claims and said that two Charleston attorneys- Marvin Masters and Robert Berthold Jr., are minority investors. Another investor is Doug Skaff Jr., a business owner from Charleston and who represented Kanawha County in the House of Delegates. The last minority investor is Andy Paterno, presently CEO of the Centurion Insurance Services company. He is also a member of Governor Jim Justice's PEIA Task Force.
Keeping it private and minority investors
All investors were unanimous that their most compelling reason to be involved in the transaction was to keep the Gazette-Mail newspaper in the hands of locals. Salango said that there will always be a need for local newspapers in the community.
All investors declined to name the amounts they have invested. Stakes in the new company were also kept private. There was only one confirmation- Reynolds, through HD Media, is the biggest investor. The newspaper itself is known to maintain high standards and has a noted history. According to critics, it is the sole news sheet in West Virginia with considerable original reporting. Many regards the Gazette-Mail as the newspaper of West Virginia.