Futrell Family Sells ?Washington Daily News? in N.C.

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By: E&P Staff

The sale of the 8,000-circulation Washington (N.C.) Daily News closed Wednesday. The newspaper was sold to Washington Newsmedia, LLC, by the Futrell family, which had published the newspaper since 1949.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger and acquisition firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented the Futrell family in the transaction. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

 Washington Newsmedia LLC is a newly formed company in North Carolina to acquire the Daily News, The Scuppernong Reminder, a weekly serving Tyrrell County, and related online and niche publications. The buying company is majority owned by Boone Newspapers, Inc. and Boone’s President and COO Todd H. Carpenter. Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Boone’s 38 papers in eight states include the Niles (Mich.) Daily Star and The Natchez (Miss.) Democrat.

Washington Newsmedia’s ownership includes BNI key personnel, seller Ashley B. “Brownie” Futrell, Jr. and Ray McKeithan, who was named president and publisher of the Daily News.  McKeithan had served the former owners as associate publisher and general manager since 2001.

The sale ends more than 60 years of operation by the Futrell family.  The late Ashley B. Futrell became editor and publisher of the newspaper in 1949.  Brownie Futrell, who succeeded his father in the newspaper’s top leadership positions, retired Wednesday after 32 years with the family business.

The Daily News marked its 100th year of publication in 2009. On April 13, 1990, it received the nation’s top journalism award, the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, for a series of articles written by Mike Voss and Betty Mitchell Gray on cancer-causing chemicals in the city’s water supply.

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