Four months after taking over as publisher at Lake Norman Publications, Leslie Kahana is the new owner of the group of suburban Charlotte, N.C. newspapers.The deal with Mt. Pleasant, Wisc.-based American Hometown Publishing Inc. is effective Aug. 1.
Lake Norman Publications, headquartered in Huntersville, produces three weekly papers: the Herald Citizen, which covers the booming northern Mecklenburg County communities of Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson; the Mooresville Citizen, in rapidly growing southern Iredell County; and the Denver Citizen, which covers an area of Lincoln County near the lake that also is experiencing unprecedented growth.
LNP’s other publication, the Mountain Island Monitor, is a monthly whose coverage area includes parts of Mecklenburg and Gaston counties.
Kahana, a Michigan native, joined Lake Norman Publications in March after more than a decade as director of advertising at the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee. She was so impressed by the quality journalism and professionalism of a staff with uniquely deep ties to the community that she decided to explore buying LNP.
When American Hometown Publishing said it would be willing to sell, Kahana says she jumped at the opportunity to buck the national trend of large companies buying up–and often consolidating–community newspapers.
“As metropolitan publications continue to struggle, I firmly believe that community newspapers focused solely on covering and contributing to the well-being of the areas they cover are the future of print and digital journalism,” Kahana said. “As a businesswoman, I am proud to be working with a team of dedicated professionals who know the importance of quality reporting both in print and online. Together, we will be working to build stronger relationships, provide excellent customer service and bring our growing communities together.”
American Hometown Publishing President and Chief Operating Officer Clarissa Williams called Kahana the perfect fit as LNP’s new owner.
“Leslie is a true leader who understands the important role a newspaper plays in a community’s success,” Williams said. “She has a track record of consistently delivering results and I believe she’ll continue to do so as a local owner.”
The four papers have a combined circulation of 54,000. LNP’s digital audience continues to grow. July marked the third straight month that the company posted a record number of page views. July’s digital activity was 44 percent ahead of the same month a year ago.
Kahana earned a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from California State University-Sacramento and an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She worked for eight years in radio, including three years as a general sales manager, before shifting to print.