In 2021, O’Rourke Media Group acquired two newspapers in the eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin – the Republican Eagle and the Star Observer – and launched four new hyperlocal websites in Red Wed, Hudson, Hastings and River Falls. OMG acquired the Cannon Falls Beacon in May 2020.
In a time when many local newspapers across the country are shutting down, and or, reducing their news staff, O’Rourke Media Group has been hiring reporters to cover and expand local news coverage. The company is focused on bringing multi-channel advertising and marketing solutions to local businesses, including a full service, internal digital agency.
On Jan. 1, 2021, Forum Communications Company sold the Red Wing and Hudson newspapers to O’Rourke Media Group .
“We’re excited about figuring out new and better ways to serve our readers and our advertisers,” O’Rourke Media Group CEO Jim O’Rourke said.
The community newspapers are focusing on publishing useful, local news and information for readers in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
In August, O’Rourke launched the Hastings Star-Gazette newspaper as an online website, focused on hyperlocal content. Reporter Sophia Voight started in August providing coverage of the city. Alec Hamilton provides sports coverage of Hastings teams.
“Since Day One, we’ve had our eye on relaunching and reestablishing the Hastings Star-Gazette as the top provider of local news in Hastings,” O’Rourke said. The website has daily and timely stories covering business, crime and courts, community events, government meetings, outdoor activities, high school sports and more. The content is free and easy to access on any device.
“We’re in the process of evaluating the possibility of bringing back the print Hastings Star-Gazette in early spring,” O’Rourke said.
In River Falls back in April, OMG launched the River Falls Journal website. Reporter Hannah Coyle was hired to cover news in the city. River Falls resident Bob Burrows provides sports coverage of the high school and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
“I’m thrilled with our company’s progress since entering these markets in 2021,” O’Rourke said. “We have a solid foundation of subscribers, online users and local advertisers, and I believe we have the absolute best news and sales teams in the market.”
The family-owned and operated O’Rourke Media Group was formed in 2018 and has acquired community publications in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Arizona and New Mexico. Overall, O’Rourke Media Group owns 23 print newspapers and hyper local websites. The O’Rourke Media Group purchase of the former Forum-owned publications included the nameplates for a number of Forum newspapers that were no longer publishing to allow for the possibility of additional relaunches in the coming years.
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