New owners for prairie newspapers

Old friends have formed a new company and purchased three newspapers in east central Saskatchewan. Greg Nesbitt, George Brown, Chris Ashfield and Ryan Nesbitt have come together to create Grasslands News Group. The new newspaper group will purchase and operate the Melville Advance, Fort Qu’Appelle Times and Whitewood Herald. Greg Nesbitt, Brown and Ashfield have all served several terms together on the board of directors for the Canadian Community Newspapers Association.

The Advance and Fort Times were purchased from Mark and Lin Orosz. “We’re totally comfortable with the people who now become owners of The Advance,” they said in their farewell editorial. “This group — a Manitoba and Canadian weekly newspaper president, and two individuals who were presidents of their Saskatchewan and Alberta newspaper associations — is uniquely qualified to guide The Advance into the future.”

Ashfield, former owner of the Herald, will work with the sales consultants to strengthen the ties between the three papers to offer new products and new advertising possibilities for businesspeople in east-central Saskatchewan.

Brown is the managing editor for the new ownership group and will direct the team of reporter/photographers and their coverage of events in the communities. He moved to Melville from Alberta where he was an editor for Black Press and publisher for Sun Media newspapers in central Alberta.

The new ownership team is rounded out by partners Greg Nesbitt, publisher of Crossroads This Week in Shoal Lake, Manitoba, and his son Ryan, who is general manager at their Shoal Lake operation. Ryan has been responsible for production of their two Manitoba newspapers for the past 10 years.

“We’re excited that we were able to acquire these newspapers and look forward to publishing the best possible products every week,” said Greg Nesbitt, who is also the current CCNA president.