The owners of the townâ€™s two weekly newspapers have announced that The Collierville Herald and The Collierville Independent will be joined, effective June 5.
The two longtime town publications will be combined into one newspaper, The Collierville Herald-Independent, according to Magic Valley Publishing owner Dennis Richardson, who bought both papers in the spring of 2019.
Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner applauded the merger last week.
â€œI think one of the great things about living in Collierville is the news coverage and other benefits we receive from a local newspaper,â€ he said. â€œFor many years I have read, not one, but two local news papers. I think it will be great to have the talents of both quality papers merged into one.â€
Vice Mayor Maureen Fraser added that Collierville â€œis hungry for news that is only about Collierville.â€
â€œThis is no longer available except in our hometown newspapersÂ â€“ The Collierville Herald and The Collierville Independent,â€ she said. â€œSo, many residents and visitors look on social media for information, but many times, it is opinions, rather than facts. With the merger, Collierville will benefit by having the best of both papers and providing more in-depth coverage on the news that is important to Collierville.â€
Founded in 1870, The Herald was purchased by newspaperman Van Pritchartt Jr. in 1988. He remained the newspaperâ€™s editor and publisher until his death in 2007. The Herald was purchased by American Hometown Publishing in 2008.
Michael Ward, a journalist for The Herald from 2007 to 2016, said that both local papers â€œhave striven to provide quality community journalism to the residents of Collierville.â€
â€œThe Collierville Herald-Independent will continue that mission, with its presence as the townâ€™s only hometown newspaper â€” the importance of which cannot be understated,â€ he added.
Collierville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Heuberger said both papers have historically offered the community â€œgood newsâ€ coverage of â€œlocal school sports and activities, Chamber of Commerce events and town parks and recreation league opportunities.â€
â€œI have always seen great value in community newspapers like The Collierville Herald and The Collierville Independent,â€ he added. â€œThey showcase community businesses at a time we need to be shopping locally and investing in our community. Most importantly, the people who staff these newspapers work and live in theÂ
community they cover. They share our values and understand our community because theyâ€™re a part of it. The merger of these two newspapers is a natural evolution.â€
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Fred and Lola Eason, who co-owned the East Memphis Shoppers News, Memphis Offset Printing, The Consumer Times and The Southaven Press, bought The Independent in the 1990s and sold the paper to Suburban Community Newspapers in 2006.
The free paper was started in the 1980s by Barry Heffner. Steve Craven, who now works at the Germantown News, was the sales manager through the 1990s.
â€œAt that time,â€ Craven said, â€œtwo papers in a small town was hard.â€
Easonâ€™s daughter, Kathy Garrett, worked in advertising for The Independent and The Herald during her 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
â€œI have much hope with the papers going together,â€ Garrett said. â€œThese papers have great intentions in helping Collierville.â€
Said Scott Whaley, group publisher of The Collierville Herald-Independent, â€œBy merging the newspapers together itâ€™s our intention to provide the citizens of Collierville with a publication that is both informative and entertaining.
â€œWe hope our readers, as well as our advertisers, will recognize the importance of this venture and the community it serves,â€ he continued. â€œBy combining the staffs of both newspapers, we have a top-notch staff of professional journalists and designers who have worked diligently to bring you this inaugural issue.â€