By: George Garneau
THE HATCH FAMILY has sold its Ogden, Utah, Standard-Examiner to closely held Sandusky Newspapers Inc. of Ohio for an undisclosed price.
The 105-year-old paper, which has been in the family of Wilda Gene Glassmann Hatch since 1892, becomes the property of a small, family-controlled group. With 56,400 circulation daily, 58,600 Sunday, the Standard-Examiner is the largest of Sandusky’s five dailies.
Randall C. Hatch, formerly editor and publisher, became editor only on March 23 when Sandusky president David A. Rau named W. Scott Trundle publisher.
As part of the asset sale, all 285 employees were terminated before the transaction, and Sandusky rehired about 275, Randy Hatch said. Several jobs remained open.
The sale resulted from family affairs and economic fluctuations.
The Hatch family bought out the Glassmann family in 1989, when newspaper prices were near their peak, leaving the company substantially in debt just as the newspaper industry went into one of its worst recessions in decades.
While the paper remained “very healthy,” the Hatch family dealt with would-be buyers from all over the country and entertained “a lot” of offers before settling on Sandusky, Randy Hatch said.
“We feel very good about Sandusky because of their commitment to community,” said Hatch.
He remains under an 18-month contract but hopes to stay longer.
“I love the job. My heart’s in the newsroom anyway,” he said.
One news staffer said most employees, who were forced to take unpaid days off in 1991 and were dogged by a three-year wage freeze, welcomed the new ownership.
Newspaper broker Dirks, Van Essen & Associates of Birmingham, Mich., represented the Hatches.
Trundle, a 53-year-old lawyer, former Secret Service agent and college administrator, spent 20 years in all areas of newspapers in North Carolina, Florida and at Sandusky’s Kingsport Times in Tennessee.
Based in Sandusky, Ohio, where it owns the Sandusky Register, the company also owns radio stations in Washington, Arizona and Texas.
Investigative reporter Phil Jensen, 50, who worked 26 years with the paper, was not rehired. He said it was a conflict with his supervisor.
“I’m just going to find another job,” he said.