GateHouse Media LLC has told employees that it will close three of its southwest Arkansas newspapers, the Hope Star, the Nevada County Picayune-Times in Prescott, and the Arkadelphia Siftings-Herald, effective Friday, September 14.
The Arkadelphia and Hope newspapers had been published Monday through Friday until November 2016, when the company reduced their publication frequency to twice a week.
The Prescott newspaper was published weekly.
The Hope media market is presently served by two exclusively on-line publications, HopePrescott.com, owned by Wendell Hoover; and HempsteadHerald.com, owned by Jesse Evans. There is no online media serving Arkadelphia.
The newspapers told subscribers that they would receive refunds on subscriptions.
Last week, GateHouse said it was closing two weekly newspapers in Arkansas, the North Little Rock Times and Lonoke County Democrat. GateHouse rolled weekly newspapers in Maumelle, Sherwood and Jacksonville into the Times last year.
In Arkansas, GateHouse still operates daily newspapers in Pine Bluff, Conway and Fort Smith, and weekly or twice-weekly publications in communities including Stuttgart, Helena-West Helena, Newport, Heber Springs, Paris and Hot Springs Village.
In February 2017, SoftBank Group Corp. announced that it was purchasing Fortress Investment Group LLC for approximately $3.3 billion in cash.
Fortress Investment bought GateHouse Media in June 2005. GateHouse owns a shrinking number of daily newspapers in the United States, and many more weekly publications and associated websites.
The Hope Star was created in 1929 by a merger of two smaller daily newspapers, the Star of Hope and Hope Daily Press. The move was made by Alex Washburn, who was editor of the newspapers for 54 years prior to his death in 1983. The Hope Star was turned over to a family trust initially, but later sold to a string of corporate owners.
The Siftings-Herald was a result of the 1920 consolidation of the Siftings and the Arkadelphia Herald. The Phillip McCorkle Sr. family ran the newspaper for many years until it was sold to the Donrey Media Group in 1987, and to GateHouse in 2005.
The Nevada County Picayune-Times began publication in 1878, the year after citizens voted to move the county seat from Rosston to Prescott.