Today begins a new era for the Elizabethton Star, as Alabama-based Boone Newspapers Inc. and its newly formed affiliate, Elizabethton Newsmedia LLC, take over management of the community newspaper.
The change in ownership – from the Robinson and Goodwin families of Elizabethton to James B. Boone Jr., CEO and controlling stockholder of Boone Newspapers Inc., and other BNI partners Todd Carpenter and Tim Prince – is grounded in longtime friendships. In fact, Boone calls Frank Robinson, who first became publisher of the Star in 1955 and bought the company in 1977, a “mentor and friend.”
Robinson oversaw decades of success at the Star before his death in 2011. His son, Charlie, had succeeded his father as publisher in 1980, but his own untimely death in 2004 saw Robinson return to the day-to-day operations at the newspaper he loved so much.
In 2007, Robinson named his grandson, Nathan Goodwin, publisher.
In August 2012, Goodwin assumed the position of chairman of the board and asked Mark A. Stevens, a family friend, Carter County native and longtime newspaperman, to become publisher. Stevens will continue to serve in that role under the new ownership.
In addition to the Star, Elizabethton Newsmedia will also oversee other Star publications and websites, such as Real Estate Monthly, Mountain Land & Homes and the company’s award-winning website, www.starhq.com. The Star is also a commercial printer for newspapers and magazines in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. Those operations will continue under the new ownership.
“Todd Carpenter and I appreciate the Robinson and Goodwin families who are entrusting us with the future of the Elizabethton Star and the people we will work with there in serving Elizabethton, Carter and Johnson counties and those whose publications the Star prints,” Boone said. “The late Frank Robinson was my mentor and friend beginning in the 1960s, when he invited me to spend several days at his home and office. I was a new publisher, struggling with many problems. The times with Frank at the office, and he and Ann and their family in their home, were important to me.
“He set important benchmarks for many of us by his management and leadership at the Star, and our company still follows those important standards. All grieved with these families in their early loss of Frank and Ann’s son, Charlie, who had succeeded Frank as publisher. We will work hard to merit that trust, and to gain the trust and support of the community.”
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