The Hannibal Courier-Post will soon be under new leadership by a family-owned company just up river in Illinois.
GateHouse Media has agreed to sell the publication to Quincy Media Inc., which operates The Herald-Whig and WGEM-TV/Radio. An asset purchase agreement has been signed, and the transition is expected to begin later this summer.
"This purchase helps us advance our mission of producing the highest-quality journalism and serving the interests of our local communities," said fifth generation newsman Ralph M. Oakley, president and CEO of Quincy Media Inc. "...We feel the Courier-Post will shine as one of Missouri’s finest local newspapers."
The transition will bring ownership closer to the Hannibal community, said Ron Wallace, QMI vice president of newspapers and Herald-Whig publisher. Quincy is about a 30-minute drive to Hannibal, and the Courier-Post will help QMI build its regional news presence.
"All decisions (for the Courier-Post) will be made locally, backed by the financial strength and community values of QMI," Wallace said.
Terri Leifeste, GateHouse Media senior group publisher, was sad to see the Courier-Post leave the company, but said QMI is the ideal place for Hannibal’s newspaper, because it is based nearby and has a commitment to balanced community journalism.
"I just think that it’s going to be great for you guys, and it’s going to be great for the community," Leifeste said while announcing the purchase to staff. "Hannibal is such a great town with such a great newspaper. I hate that it is leaving GateHouse, but I think that it is going into the perfect hands."
Quincy Media Inc. is among the largest local journalism companies in the country. It began as Quincy Newspapers Inc. in 1926 when two Quincy newspapers merged to create The Herald-Whig. It has since moved into broadcast news and changed its name to Quincy Media Inc. in 2016 with properties in 16 television markets.
GateHouse Media purchased the Courier-Post in 2007, along with 13 other daily newspapers in a $115 million package deal with Morris Publishing Group. GateHouse Media publishes more than 140 daily newspapers, 340 community publications and 570 local market websites in 37 states.