(PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Jacob Kessler
According to the Northwest Signal, big changes are ahead for Fulton, Williams, and Lucas Counties.
The Fulton County Expositor and Swanton Enterprise will be combined with the Northwest Signal. The three papers are each owned by AIM Media Midwest, which is an affiliate of AIM Media Texas, LLC and Aim Media Indiana, LLC which are both managed by AIM Media Management out of Dallas, Texas.
According to the Fulton County Expositor’s website, the papers history goes all the way back to the early 1850’s in the community of Ottokee, Ohio.
The community, which used to the be the county seat at the time, was the home of the paper which was called the Northwestern Review at the time.
In the 1860’s Wauseon was named as the county seat which prompted the paper to move into Wauseon from Ottokee.
This put them into direct competition with a paper already located there called the Wauseon Republican.
Later, in the 1890’s the two papers merged into one and changed their name to the Republican.
Around the same time that the merge took place, The Fulton County Expositor was created in Wauseon.
It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that things changed, and the two publishers decided to work together.
This teamwork led to the printing of the Fulton County Expositor on Thursdays and the Republican on Tuesdays.
In 1982, both papers ended up under the same ownership and were merged into the Fulton Council Expositor.
The Swanton Enterprise’s history goes back fairly far as well. The paper was a weekly newspaper serving the Swanton, Ohio area and surrounding communities since its inception back in 1886.
The paper was acquired by AIM Media Midwest back in the middle of 2017. Together the Swanton Enterprise and the Fulton County Expositor have worked together since both companies were acquired by AIM Media Midwest.
Just recently the Northwest Signal and the Bryan Times was purchased by AIM Media Midwest.
Previously, the Bryan Times handled the publishing of the Northwest Signal as well as The Countyline and Realty Northwest.
At the time of acquisition, Sally Heaston was to take over as publisher under the new companies’ guidance.
While this merger does lessen the amount of competition in the area, publisher of The Village Reporter and owner of Northwest Ohio Publishing LLC Forrest Church does not entirely see it that way.
“I continue to be saddened by the closing and merging of newspapers. Newspapers that do remain open and merge with a corporation outsource much of their payroll out of state and end up leaving only a handful of local employees, which is better than closing the newspaper all together.”
He continued with, Northwest Ohio Publishing and The Village Reporter continues to be family owned and local employee operated with our team being located here in the two-county area, with taxes paid in the local area.”
“Customers can support their local newspapers, whether ours or others, by subscribing to them.”
The industry in general has been facing some tough times as of late. Many have had to choose to either close or merge with another company to survive.
Whether or not this is the case for the Fulton County Expositor or Swanton Enterprise, many area newspapers have dealt with this scenario.
Some of these local papers include the Stateline Observer out of Morenci, the Fayette Review, Delta Atlas, Hicksville Tribune, Hamilton News, Antwerp Bee-Argus and our very own Edon Commercial and former Advanced Reporter and Wauseon Reporter that is now todays Village Reporter.
When contacted, the publisher of the Northwest Signal said they will not be making any comments regarding the changes.
Jacob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org