Brad and Jennifer Kersey are new owners of four community newspapers in Saskatchewan: the Canora Courier, Kamsack Times, Norquay North Star, and Preeceville Progress, after the retirement of previous owner Ken Sopkow.
Brad wrote an article introducing himself and Jennifer to the community.
“ItÔÇÖs been a very busy year for us. In the past six months, we have gotten married, started our own business, and now have become owners of four community newspapers.”
The two met in Estevan, where both were working for the Estevan (SK) Mercury.
They both wanted to tackle the challenges of newspaper ownership, and felt prepared since between them they had done just about every job at a community newspaper.
They put out feelers that they were looking at buying a newspaper, and eventually found that this group of papers was for sale.
So far, they have been “pleasantly surprised” with the community and Brad described it as “one of the most beautiful places in Saskatchewan.”
As well, they have been largely encouraged by the community as they unrolled some changes to the paper.
The couple wanted the focus of the paper to be on local news. This meant making some changes to the content of the paper, stripping the wire pieces that once covered national and international news.
The demographic is older, and there was some reluctance to change, but most have been won over with the new look and content. One change was ensuring that that cover was in full colour.
“People are enjoying the paper a lot more now that it has more local and community content and more pictures,” said Kersey.
The move to cover local news may increase the papersÔÇÖ subscriber bases, since many subscribers are people who want to keep up with the community but who no longer live there.
The four papers serve communities that each have their own sense of identity.
“Norquay is quite close to Kamsack, but the other three have totally different news. There is a lot going on in each community,” he said.
In the letter of introduction to the community, Brad explained:
“YouÔÇÖve shown us how much you value your hometown paper. Jenn and I will try our hardest to give you the best product that we possibly canÔÇöa newspaper that serves your needs and reflects how positive your communities really are.”