The Other Paper in South Burlington is joining the Stowe Reporter newspaper family.
The purchase took effect today.
That brings to six the number of micro-local weekly newspapers in the Stowe Reporter group. The others are the Shelburne News; The Citizen, which covers Charlotte and Hinesburg; the Waterbury Record; and the News & Citizen of Morrisville.
“We’ve had a long collaboration with The Other Paper, and now we’re part of the same family. The paper’s commitment to community journalism is strong, and we’re excited to now own three newspapers in Chittenden County,” said Greg Popa, publisher of the Stowe Reporter group. “It’s a perfect fit for us.”
Judy Kearns, who has owned The Other Paper for the past decade, will continue working for the paper, focusing on advertising sales and offering her institutional knowledge to the newspaper’s expanded news staff. Kearns will be director of sales and oversee the sales effort for the Shelburne News and The Citizen as well.
“I’m excited to be partnering with everyone at the Stowe Reporter and being able to work closely with the Shelburne News and The Citizen, which the Other Paper has had such a close relationship with for decades,” Kearns said. “But it’s still a little bittersweet. Everyone who works at the OP has poured their hearts into this endeavor and been so loyal, not just to me, but to the whole South Burlington community. The good news is we’re taking this journey forward together.”
Expanding into Chittenden County is a natural move for the Stowe Reporter, Popa said. The newspaper company already has many advertising connections there through its membership in the Burlington Area Newspaper Group, an ad-buying group with eight member papers.
Popa said it’s important to continue the tradition of local news coverage provided by The Other Paper, and no immediate changes are planned.
“Our first goal is to get better acquainted with the staff and get the feel of the organization,” Popa said. In the long run, he said, features of the Stowe Reporter will be introduced in The Other Paper, such as beefed-up news reporting, a more extensive calendar, and more enterprise reporting.
Popa will be publisher of all six newspapers owned by the company. Tom Kearney, executive editor of the Shelburne News and The Citizen, will work with Lee Kahrs, who has been hired as managing editor of The Other Paper, to strengthen the newspaper.
Kahrs had been managing editor of the Brandon Reporter, where she had worked since 2007. She has earned many reporting and writing awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Earlier, she was a staff writer for the St. Albans Messenger and for a weekly newspaper in Cornwall, N.Y., and spent seven years as a New York-based Equity stage manager for on- and Off-Broadway theater and tours in the United States, Canada and Europe.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and writing from the State University of New York-Purchase, and last month received a master of fine arts degree from the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine, where she was the commencement speaker and class representative in creative nonfiction.