Friends and colleagues, in the proud tradition of newspapering, I do not wish to be accused of burying the lead of a big story.
So, today, I bid farewell to you as publisher, editor and CEO of the Kentucky New Era Group, and welcome the Paxton Media Group as the new owners of this newspaper, as well as our other digital and print operations in the Pennryile Area, effective immediately.
The New Era was established in 1869 and remains Hopkinsville’s oldest continuously operating business. I believe the decision we announce today represents the best and most viable option to ensure that this noble newspaper, controlled by my family since Hunter Wood acquired full ownership in 1881, remains in service to this region for many more years to come.
All of you here know well the lengths we have taken to keep the New Era and its sister operations moving forward in a time of great change for our industry. And, on behalf of my family, I am grateful for the hard work, passion and devotion our employees have given through the years to the newspapers, magazines, websites and other operations of our media group.
Nevertheless, in recent months, it became clear to me that maintaining and sustaining the New Era required resources greater than what we possessed. Paxton has the tools and operational scale necessary to prepare, but also propel, the New Era and sister for the opportunities that lie ahead.
Paxton, based in Paducah, has properties as close to us as Cadiz and Madisonville, and other papers in Kentucky, as well as the South, Midwest and on the East coast. We, the descendants of Hunter Wood, also felt it was best that stewardship of the New Era should pass to another Kentucky family that shares our love of our commonwealth and region.
I joined the New Era as a full-time employee 33 years ago, in 1985, and had the privilege of working in almost every area of this newspaper. It has been my great honor to serve as publisher for the last two decades and, for the last couple of years, also as editor. The New Era has been, and is today, a force for good and a beacon of light for Hopkinsville.
I cannot express adequately the gratitude and thanks of our family to all employees, past and present, who served our readers, customers and communities through the years. Finally, I wish the greatest success to the Paxton family and stand ready to assist them as needed as they take the reins of the New Era and its sister newspapers and other operations.
While I am sure our paths will continue to cross from time to time, for now I bid you farewell.
Taylor Hayes, former publisher, editor and CEO of the New Era and the New Era Group, delivered these remarks Friday at an employee meeting at the newspaper.