Now may not seem like the best time to buy a newspaper: Competition from the internet, along with the economic pressures squeezing all businesses, have sent revenues spiraling. Public media stocks have been battered, and Florida’s newspapers have had massive downsizing and layoffs [“Breaking News,” March]. But for newspaperman Ron Dupont, the crisis is just the opportunity he’s been waiting for.
Editor Ron Dupont took advantage of an industry slump to buy the High Springs Herald.
As editor of the High Springs Herald, Dupont has tried to buy the Herald for years. He says the economic crisis worked in his favor, though neither he nor seller Campus Communications would reveal the purchase price. “I know these communities, and I know the possibilities,” says Dupont, who lives with his wife and two children on 22 acres in Gilchrist County. “We’re going to be in a nice position when the economy turns around.”
Dupont is well-known in Florida journalism circles for his work building the Charlotte Sun-Herald’s internet site in the 1990s — the site was named best in the country by Editor & Publisher magazine — and for working for five years as general manager of the web department at the St. Petersburg Times.
In 2003, he left the Times to become editor of the Herald, a 3,300-circulation paper that serves parts of Alachua, Gilchrist and Columbia counties. As editor, Dupont has racked up awards and built a solid internet site. As editor and publisher, he hopes to create a digital product that will prove the lasting value of newspapers to the communities they cover.
“I don’t even like using the word newspaper. We need to get away from that word,” he says. “I believe there’s a future for journalists in getting news and information out to people. In whatever form that takes — we’ll see.”