Farmville Herald sold to Boone affiliate

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FARMVILLE—Farmville Newsmedia, LLC, a new Virginia entity wholly owned by Carpenter Newsmedia, LLC (CNL), purchased The Farmville Herald from the Wall family on Friday. CNL is an affiliate of Boone Newspapers, Inc. (BNI) with offices in Natchez, Miss., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The sale ends three generations of ownership by the Wall family.

“The Herald celebrates its 125th birthday in 2015 and the 94th year the paper has been published by the Wall family,” said third-generation Publisher Steve Wall, whose grandfather J.B. Wall purchased the newspaper in 1921. “The industry has undergone major changes in the last couple of years. My dad, Bill, who joined the staff in 1954, is planning to completely retire, and after 37 years in the business full time, I’m ready for another newspaper family to take the helm.

“There is an incredible amount of new technology out there which we need to incorporate, and I’m too stubborn to embrace the digital platform,” he continued. “Retail has changed and our community has changed. We need professionals like Boone and Carpenter to take The Herald to the next level.”

BNI Vice President Steve Stewart, a veteran newspaperman who most recently published newspapers in Suffolk, Va., and Franklin, Va., succeeds Steve Wall as publisher. Todd Carpenter, of Natchez, is BNI’s president and chief executive officer and is principal owner of CNL. James B. Boone, Jr., of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is BNI’s chairman and chief executive officer of BNI.

Carpenter said he and Boone are “deeply appreciative of the confidence the Wall family has placed in CNL and BNI as their successors, and we will work hard to merit that confidence.”

“We look forward to working with the excellent group of people at The Herald and in the Farmville community and will work hard to build on the good foundations put down by the Wall family,” Carpenter said.

CNL has ownership in BNI affiliates in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Carpenter has been president and CEO of BNI for the past 10 years.

Stewart, a University of Mississippi graduate, leads BNI’s East Coast Group. He has more than two decades of experience as a community newspaper publisher.

“I count it a privilege to succeed Steve Wall as publisher in Farmville,” Stewart said. “We will work hard to honor the Wall family’s legacy and publish a first-rate newspaper and related print and digital products that are interesting to readers and thus provide good marketing solutions for local businesses. Farmville is a vibrant community with a rich history, and we look forward to chronicling its people, places and institutions for many years to come.”

BNI owns and manages 61 newspapers in similar-sized communities that, in addition to those in which CNL has ownership interest, are in Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. Virginia newspapers are the Suffolk News-Herald and The Tidewater News in Franklin.

The organization has a rich history of quality newspapers, websites, magazines and other publications in the communities it serves, explained in part by Boone’s corporate philosophy: “We seek to produce the highest quality product the economics of the community can support. And then, by ingenuity and imagination, we strive for a higher quality in an effort to serve and build that community.”

The Herald has published continuously in Farmville since 1890.

“I hope we have been a driving, positive force in the Heart of Virginia,” Wall commented. “Our motto ‘Honor for the past, help for the present, hope for the future’ is as important as ever to the growth of this community and the surrounding area. The new owners will inherit one of the finest staffs — from production and delivery to advertising and editorials — of newspaper people in the state. They work under the constant pressure of deadlines and never slow down. News never sleeps. When we finish one paper we start on the next edition.”

Cribb, Greene & Associates of Charlottesville represented the Wall family in the sale of the newspaper.