It's a very big shake-up in the history of newspaper publishing in the Quad Cities. Lee Enterprises, owner of the Quad City Times, announced Monday morning it's buying the Dispatch and Argus.
News of the $7.15 million sale is a big surprise to many Quad Cities residents. Lee Enterprises is based in Davenport and owns the Quad City Times, Muscatine Journal, Saint Louis Post Dispatch, and many other newspapers. The Small Newspaper Group, based in Kankakee, owns the Dispatch and Argus, and Q-C-online.
Lee has chosen Quad City Times publisher, Debbie Anselm, as the new publisher of The Dispatch and Argus, succeeding long-time publisher, Gerry Taylor. In a press release, Anselm says, "The Dispatch-Argus will maintain its editorial independence and distinct voice as an indispensable community asset.”
President of the Dispatch Argus, Rob Small, says the Small Newspaper Group needs "a smaller and more manageable footprint in the Midwest." And the decision to sell “after a half-century was a difficult but necessary move.” Small also says Taylor's career includes the launch of the Sunday edition and the founding of QCOnline.com at the beginning of the digital age.
By phone this morning, Small also said, "The smartest thing I ever did as a publisher was to hire Don Wooten as a columnist." Wooten is a veteran broadcaster, former Illinois State Senator, founder of Genesius Guild, and former WVIK General Manager.
The sale is expected to close by the end of the month.