LAPEER — View Newspaper Group and Michigan Web Press are pleased to announce the planned acquisition of the Daily News and Stafford Printing, both of which are located in Greenville, Mich. The acquisition is set to close on June 3.
Founded in 2003 by Rick Burrough, View Newspaper Group will now include 19 community newspapers and a staff totaling more than 115, covering Lapeer, Sanilac, Huron, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Genesee, Oakland, Livingston, Montcalm and Ionia counties. The Daily News will be the group’s first daily newspaper.
Michigan Web Press, founded in 1979 and acquired by Burrough in 1999, serves more than 60 individual newspaper and publishing companies, printing more than 120 daily, weekly and monthly newspaper and periodical titles. The company prints about 3 million papers every week, which are distributed throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Clients include The County Press, View Newspaper Group, C&G Newspapers, The (MSU) State News, the (UM) Michigan Daily and many others. Stafford Printing brings to the mix more than 160 customers, including daily, weekly and monthly publications covering the same geography. Its customers include The Detroit Jewish News, Michigan Farm News, Grand Rapids Business Journal, Woods-n-Water News, Rockford Squire and Grand Haven Tribune.
“The acquisition of Stafford Printing strategically positions our company to more readily serve newspapers and other printing clients on the west side of the state,” Michigan Web Press General Manager Todd Hagerman said. “We look forward to working with our new team members to provide the best quality, service and value to all of our clients.”
Burrough said the acquisition includes the real estate for both the Greenville newspaper office and printing plant and that both will continue to operate.
“We are excited to grow both our newspaper company and our printing company with the addition of the Daily News and Stafford Printing,” Burrough said. “The Stafford family is well-known and respected in the newspaper publishing and printing business. We are pleased to welcome the Daily News into our family of papers and happy to report that Julie Stafford has agreed to stay on as publisher in Greenville. Retaining Julie was a key element of this deal coming together.”
The Daily News, which has been in the Stafford family since 1951, has a circulation of about 4,500 and is published six days a week. The paper covers more than 1,000 square miles of Montcalm, Ionia and parts of Kent counties. For the past four years in a row, the Daily News has won Newspaper of the Year among Class D newspapers in the annual Michigan Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. The paper also earned first place for General Excellence for the second year in a row in the 2018 Michigan Associated Press Media Editors newspaper competition.
In addition to its daily, the Daily News also publishes The Gazette, which is a free weekly newspaper that covers much of the eastern part of Montcalm County and is direct mailed to about 5,200 homes every Saturday.
Printing has been a major part of the Stafford family’s legacy, as well. In the 1960s, John Stafford started a heat-set offset web commercial print company called Printco, which was sold and is today Quad Graphics. With an expanding list of regular newspaper print customers, John Stafford eventually moved his presses from the building they shared with the Daily News to its own production facility in Greenville, where it then began to grow.
Rob Stafford, who joined the company in 1990, plans to pursue other interests. Julie, who became publisher of The Daily News in 2012, said while there are many emotions that come with ending a 68-year family ownership of the paper, there also are a lot of exciting opportunities this new direction offers.
“I am really grateful in this day and age to have found what I consider to be a fantastic partnership of like-minds dedicated not only to local journalism, but also folks who have a print-first way of thinking,” Julie said. “We gain an extended family of talented journalists, marketing minds and print experts who we can partner with to expand and improve what we do. Our readers will continue to see a daily focus on coverage of the news happening in our area.”
With the addition of the Daily News and Stafford Printing, View Newspaper Group and Michigan Web now become one of the largest Michigan-owned and operated newspaper groups and commercial printers.
“We love shaking up the conventional wisdom about newspapers and print,” View Newspaper Group Publisher Wes Smith said. “The continued growth of our newspaper group and our sister printing company serves notice that local community newspapers are a viable and important part of the communities we serve, and print is still the favored media as a credible source of news, entertainment and advertising. With the addition of the Daily News and The Gazette, View Newspaper Group will have more than 310,000 copies in print every week, delivered directly to the homes of our readers by the U.S. Postal Service and our own carriers.”