The Victoria Advocate Publishing Co. and Texas Community Media have merged together to form M. Roberts Media in hopes of better serving their employees and readers in south and east Texas.
Stephen McHaney, president of M. Roberts Media and publisher of the Longview News-Journal, said they brought together three daily newspapers and a bi-weekly paper (The Victoria Advocate, the Longview News Journal, the Panola Watchman and the Marshall News Messenger), seven digital properties, a full-service marketing business and a variety of verticals under one umbrella to increase efficiency behind the scenes.
Although there will be some content sharing between the newspapers, the merger “is not as dramatic as you might think,” McHaney said.
“The thrust of why we did this was to create a brand that helps our employees,” he explained. “The only change that employees have seen to date is with payroll.The bigger point is that it is a signal to employees that all of our operations fall under one umbrella and thus necessitates a shift in thinking from ‘us and them’ to ‘we.’ I believe that this shift in thinking will make the overall company better.”
That “we” mentality is cemented in the company’s family values. M. Roberts Media is a family-owned company that began in 1942 when Morris Roberts purchased the Victoria Advocate with a group of Texas businessmen. He later purchased all of paper’s stock in 1961 and shared ownership with his son, John M. Roberts.
“This family mindset is one that has been instilled in me by the two previous generations that have run the company. Unconsciously, we were sending signals that were contrary to that mindset because we did not have a unifying brand,” said McHaney. “Now we have a tangible signal to all employees that we are one company, and the name, M. Roberts Media, reminds everyone that the history of the company has its roots in family.”
In addition to its deep roots in publishing newspapers, M. Roberts Media is also now a multimedia and marketing solutions company. Advocate Digital Media, the digital solutions arm for M. Roberts Media, offers targeted display ads and video advertising for marketing clients.
Although no plans are currently being made, McHaney said the merger also sets them up for future acquisitions.
“We are a family company, and it is important to us that everyone understand that we are all equal parts of that family,” McHaney said. “If one part of our company is having success we can all celebrate, because we are family.”