SILER CITY — Chatham Media Group, the owner of the Chatham News + Record, has sold the newspaper and its other print and digital news products to North State Media. North State Media is the owner of North State Journal, North Carolina’s only statewide newspaper.
“We are excited to add the Chatham News & Record to the North State Journal family,” said Neal Robbins, North State Media’s president and the publisher of the North State Journal. “We believe the long-term viability of North Carolina’s independent press lies in local ownership and strategic business planning. This acquisition furthers our goal to elevate the conversation across North Carolina while ensuring local communities are part of that conversation.”
In addition to its statewide edition, North State Journal will now have local editions in six counties — Chatham, Forsyth, Hoke, Moore, Randolph and Stanly.
“Over the coming weeks, Chatham News & Record readers can expect to see expanded content and new sections in addition to the award-winning local coverage they have enjoyed since 1878,” said Matt Mercer, editor in chief of North State Journal.
Chatham Media Group’s owners — Kirk Bradley, Chris Ehrenfeld and Bill Horner III — acquired the Chatham News and Chatham Record from the Resch family in October of 2018.
The combined newspaper has consistently received top accolades from the N.C. Press Association annual awards. In 2022, the Chatham News + Record received first place in the General Excellence category in its division, the contest’s “best newspaper” prize, following up its second place and third place finishes in the two prior years of the contest.
“North Carolinians are served across the state by more than 40 small weekly newspapers like ours,” said Horner, who served as publisher and editor of the News + Record under Chatham Media Group’s ownership. “To be judged by our peers in the industry as the very best among those, and to have won more news awards than all but two of the state’s 150 news organizations, is a testament to our staff’s effort to bring Chatham County the very best newspaper and best news coverage available, whether in print or online.”
Horner, who first retired after a 31-year career with The Sanford Herald in 2016 — a newspaper founded by his grandfather, W.E. Horner Sr. — will leave the News + Record to pursue writing projects and volunteer work in his hometown of Sanford. He’ll continue to be involved in Chatham with his work as a board member of Communities In Schools of Chatham County.
“Kirk and Chris and I have committed a lot of resources, time and work in providing Chatham County with what is widely considered to be the very best small weekly newspaper in North Carolina,” Horner said. “The privilege of working with the staff in our Siler City office, and working with some incredibly talented young reporters and photographers over the last few years, has been immense.”
“It has been an honor to be an owner of the Chatham News + Record for the past five years,” Ehrenfeld said. “The newspaper has a 145-year history of bringing the news to the people of Chatham County. We are proud of the overall body of work that was produced during our ownership.”
“Being a part of the CNR with Bill and Chris has been an interesting journey at an important time in the growth of Chatham County,” Bradley said. “Today’s media landscape makes it hard to survive as a stand-alone operation. When we purchased the paper from the Resch Family, our goal was to provide support for the importance of education and economic development in Chatham County told from a local perspective, while honoring the history of the paper. We remain hopeful that selling to North State Media will continue that vision and support the future of Chatham County.
In addition to the News + Record’s weekly print edition, the newspaper has an award-winning website at www.chathamnewsrecord.com, the Chatham Life and Chatham 411 magazines, and three digital newsletters. They include the Chatham Brew, a four-times weekly publication with more than 6,700 subscribers, the Chatham Scorecard, a weekly sports e-newsletter, and the Carpool, a monthly parent-focused e-newsletter.
North State Journal plans to re-start the newspaper’s Spanish-language news project, which was put on hold a year ago.
Griffin Daughtry, local editor for North State Journal, will head the Chatham News + Record.
“I can’t wait to get started in Chatham County,” Daughtry said. “Our focus will be on delivering important news to every community while developing new beats and features that will highlight all Chatham County has to offer.”
First published in 2016, the North State Journal’s mission is to delve deep, engage with truth, help citizens find common ground, and fill a void in North Carolina’s media landscape. The award-winning newspaper reaches readers in all 100 counties of North Carolina through its flagship print edition and its website, nsjonline.com.
North State Journal was the top award-winner in its division in the past year’s N.C. Press Association contest, taking 20 prizes and has taken home the general excellence award three times since 2016.