Rumbach family announces sale of The Herald

This is a story we hoped we would never write.

The Rumbach family has published The Herald for more than 100 years of the newspaper’s 125-year history. On Aug. 1, the Paxton family, newspaper publishers since 1896, will assume ownership and will produce and print that Saturday’s Herald.

It’s no secret that the newspaper industry has experienced major disruptions over the last couple of decades. More than 2,000 newspapers, large and small, but especially family-owned, community newspapers, have closed or been sold. We were fortunate that the disruptions took as long as they did to reach us.

Ultimately, The Herald no longer had enough subscribers or local advertising revenue to support the quality community newspaper and website that our readers were accustomed to — and producing a quality newspaper has always been our priority.

The Paxton Media Group, which publishes more than 70 newspapers across the Midwest and Southwest, including 12 dailies in Indiana, has the ability to share resources among its publications, thereby reducing costs — something our family, owner of one newspaper, couldn’t do.

Paxton Media is headquartered in Paducah, Ky. Its nearby newspapers include the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, the Princeton Daily Clarion and the Vincennes Sun-Commercial. Courtney Shuttle, the publisher and regional advertising director for three Paxton-owned newspapers, will take on those duties at The Herald as well.

Over the last couple of years, we explored a variety of directions in which to take the newspaper and last year we made the heartbreaking decision that we could no longer continue operating at the unsustainable levels we had been. Earlier this year, our company, comprised of 16 family shareholders, agreed to seek a buyer. The pandemic reinforced that decision.

Today, more than 90 community newspapers are on the market. Many won’t be purchased and likely will close their doors leaving their communities with minimal local news coverage, if any. That won’t happen in Dubois County because of the Paxton Media Group’s interest in The Herald.

We thank the people who work at The Herald as well as those who have worked at The Herald. They are and were the professionals who made The Herald what it is, a community newspaper recognized nationally for its excellence. The newspaper business demands we print a newspaper six days a week no matter what problems arise. We did because of their commitment and dedication.

We also appreciate the subscribers who valued local journalism and the advertisers who saw the value of a good newspaper to both them and the community.

A.T. Rumbach came to the weekly Jasper Herald in 1919 as its editor. His sons, John T. “Jack” Rumbach and Edwin J. Rumbach followed him. They established a legacy of a strong community newspaper, one that also contributed time and money to the betterment of the community.

We and the other family members are proud to have built on that foundation — expanding news, local government and sports coverage and telling in-depth stories in words and pictures of the people who live and work here. And we are proud we continued to give back to the communities we serve through donations, sponsorships, volunteering and through grants from the company’s endowments at the Dubois County Community Foundation.

We feel fortunate to have played a part in Dubois County's rich history of success and growth for so many years. It's been an honor.

— Justin Rumbach, Publisher
— Dan Rumbach, Co-President
— John Rumbach, Co-President

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