Jimmy Sexton is back at the Neosho Daily News, this time at the helm of the newspaper which gave him a start.
Sexton and wife Rhonda (pictured) have announced they are buying the paper – a rival of their own News-Dispatch – and Aurora Advertiser from Gannett, and will merge the two Neosho, Missouri mastheads.
Their Sexton Media business runs from the town’s historic horses’ home building and includes photography and clothing sales.
Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Dirks, Van Essen & April represented Gannett in the transaction, terms of which were not disclosed. The deal completes on September 1.
Sexton, who looks back on 34 years in news publishing, recalls working as an intern at the Neosho Daily for Anne Cope, whose family owned it for many years.
“I've worked for several different papers over the years, and to be in a position to purchase the hometown newspaper I grew up with is a dream come true,” he said, thanking Gannett for the “amazing opportunity” and committing to build on the legacy the Cope family began.
Sexton Media owns local publications the News-Dispatch and the River Hills Traveler. "We are proud to continue the tradition of family ownership of one of Neosho's oldest businesses, and we look forward to being a cheerleader for this community," he said.
• Gannett will also sell another Missouri community, the Moberly Monitor-Index, this time to privately-owned Westplex Media Group. It becomes the fourth newspaper in the portfolio of Westplex, which was founded in 2018 by Tim Schmidt, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the newspaper industry.
His first purchase was the weekly Montgomery Standard, to which he added the Warren County Record in Warrenton in October 2019, and the Mexico Ledger from Gannett in August 2020.
Dirks, Van Essen & April again represented Gannett in the latest transaction, expected to close on September 1.
Schmidt says the Monitor-Index has a proud history and is a “natural fit” to grow the company. “We will work hard to publish a newspaper that the community can be proud of.
“We feel the newspaper industry has a bright future and we're glad to work with Gannett a second time to make this deal happen."