Rome Sentinel Company buys Boonville Herald

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The Rome Sentinel Company has purchased the Boonville Herald, a weekly newspaper, announced Sentinel company Associate Publisher Bradley R. Waters.

Published on Wednesdays, the Herald will join the Sentinel company’s other publications which include the Daily Sentinel, the weekly Seven Day Sentinel and the weekly Clinton Record.

The Sentinel company will look to enhance the Herald’s content and advertising, and is aiming to extend its advertising reach, said Waters. This could include packages for advertising in coordination with the Daily Sentinel and Clinton Record for hard copies as well as online, he added.

The Herald focuses on news from the Adirondacks Tug Hill region. Its related products include the Snow Belt, a snowmobiling guide published twice a year, plus Out and About, a summer activities guide published once a year.

The Herald on Friday was recognized as Business of the Month by the Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce for its “continuous effort in promoting the activities and businesses of Boonville,” said Michelle Bartelotte, chamber secretary.

The Sentinel company purchased the Herald as part of “our goal...reach as much as Oneida County as we can” including printed publications plus online, Waters commented.

The Herald’s staff will be maintained other than one recent retirement, Waters said.

Joe Kelly, owner of Second Wind Inc. which had owned and operated the Herald, will continue as lead editor for a year and then will be a columnist and writer for two more years after that, said Waters. He pointed out Kelly has “a good bead on the Boonville area,” and has “a positive following.”

The sale to the Sentinel company “is a perfect fit,” said Kelly. He observed, “the Herald has always been an independently owned newspaper and so has the Sentinel. Both newspapers have also been great supporters of the communities they serve. And the newspapers are right down the road from each other. I am happy for Herald readers and for the Herald staff. The readers and the staff will see benefits as a result of the sale.”

Kelly further said “it is important for a community to have its own newspaper. This sale will ensure that the Herald will successfully continue on into the future.”

Kelly, who purchased the Herald in 2001 from prior owner Kathy Lansing, noted he is 71 and “this is the right time for me,” regarding the sale.

More importantly, he said, “I know the Waters family and their philosophy of running a newspaper is much like mine....Readers enjoy the Herald. I wanted to make sure they would continue to enjoy their newspaper.”  

Waters pointed out the Sentinel company’s resources will help to “create more content” and oversee circulation for the Herald. In addition, the company’s in-house presses offer flexibility including for special sections and color capabilities, he said.

The seeds for the linkup developed when the Sentinel company began printing the Herald last June, explained Waters.

The transaction involves two newspapers with long histories.

Sentinel company Owner and Publisher Stephen B. Waters, the father of Bradley Waters, said “since 1854, six generations of the Rome Sentinel family have strengthened community by publishing local news and advertising in print and online.”

The Sentinel is descended from the Rome Republican, first published in 1821.

The Herald started in 1852 as the Black River Ledger, with the name changing three years later to the Black River Herald and then in 1862 to the Boonville Herald.

Among its editors and publishers over the years, Gary Willard operated the newspaper in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960; Livingston Lansing purchased it in 1972; his daughter-in-law Kathy Lansing purchased it in 1996 following its death and operated it until the 2001 sale to Kelly.

One of the best parts about the Herald is that about 80 percent of its content is submitted by stringers and contributors, which can offer “a different angle” for its weekly coverage, Bradley Waters remarked.

The Sentinel and the Herald can both learn from each other’s strengths, he added.

Kelly sees “positive things” ahead for the Herald. He said it was improved by Kathy Lansing during her ownership, he believes it “improved again during my time,” and “I know it will get even better under the new owners. The Waters family has a proven record.”

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