Herald to buy neighboring weeklies

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, July 30, 2015

Farmville Newsmedia, LLC (FNL), has reached an agreement in principle to purchase The Charlotte Gazette and The Kenbridge Victoria Dispatch from the Tucker family. The transaction is expected to close Friday.

FNL, which publishes The Farmville Herald, is an affiliate of Carpenter Newsmedia, LLC (CNL), of Natchez, Miss., and Boone Newspapers, Inc. (BNI), with offices in Natchez and Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The sale will end seven decades of ownership by the Tucker family.

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“We believe it’s time for us to pass the torch,” Publisher Dorothy C. “Dot” Tucker said concerning the agreement reached with FNL. “It has been an honor for our family to deliver Charlotte County and Lunenburg news for all these years, and to be a part of preserving the county’s history. Now it is time for someone else to keep that tradition alive, and we know that FNL will bring great things to our newspapers and the community!

“A big thank you goes out to all the people of the county, both past and present, for their incredible support and the trust they have place in us throughout our family’s time at the helm of The Charlotte Gazette and Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch. We have truly enjoyed being a part of

the Charlotte and Lunenburg county communities.”

Editor Otis O. “Bo” Tucker III agreed, expressing his gratitude to all the staff members who have worked for The Charlotte Gazette and Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch throughout the Tucker family’s 69 years of ownership.

“We have had many great employees working with us over the years and we thank them all for their efforts,” Bo added. “It has taken a tremendous team effort to provide all the news and events to the community on our pages each week, and now that effort will continue long into the future with FNL leading the way.”

FNL President and Publisher Steve Stewart, a BNI vice president, will succeed Dot Tucker as publisher of both newspapers. Charlotte County native Hannah Davis, who has served as sports editor of The Farmville Herald for the past two years, will succeed Bo Tucker III as editor of both newspapers.

Hannah Davis


Davis grew up in the Scuffletown area of Charlotte County and graduated from Randolph-Henry High School in 2009. While at R-H, she was editor-in-chief of the yearbook staff and took sports photographs for the Gazette.

Davis, the daughter of Tim and Jenny Davis of Charlotte Court House, graduated in 2013 from Longwood University, where she majored in communications studies.

Davis won first place in sports column writing in the 2014 Virginia Press Association Contest and first in the single photograph – sports photo category in the 2014 Virginia Professional Communicators (VPC) contest, along with four other VPC awards.

She also won second place in sports photography in the National Federation of Press Women Contest this year.

“I am honored that I have been given the opportunity to return to my Charlotte County roots and lead my hometown newspaper,” Davis said. “It is an exciting opportunity that I never imagined would happen to me, but I am thankful that it has.

“I am also excited to bring news to The Kenbridge Victoria Dispatch readers and get to know them better. I cannot wait to serve the readers of both newspapers.”

Stewart said the Gazette and the Dispatch will continue to publish every Wednesday.

“We are honored to be chosen by the Tucker family as their successors,” Stewart said. “We will work hard to honor their legacy and publish first-rate newspapers and related print and digital products that are interesting to readers and thus provide good marketing solutions for local businesses. We look forward to serving the people of Charlotte and Lunenburg counties for many years to come.”

Stewart, a University of Mississippi graduate, leads BNI’s East Coast Group, which includes newspapers in Farmville, Suffolk, Va., Franklin, Va., Ahoskie, N.C., Washington, N.C., and Salisbury, N.C. Stewart has more than two decades of experience as a community newspaper publisher and serves on the Virginia Press Association board of directors.

Todd Carpenter, of Natchez, is BNI’s president and chief executive officer and is principal owner of CNL. James B. Boone, Jr., of Tuscaloosa, is BNI’s chairman.

CNL has ownership in BNI affiliates in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Carpenter has been president of BNI for the past 10 years.

BNI owns and manages 61 newspapers in similar-sized communities that, in addition to those in which CNL has ownership interest, are in Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. Virginia newspapers are The Farmville Herald, Suffolk News-Herald and The Tidewater News in Franklin.

The organization has a rich history of quality newspapers, websites, magazines and other publications in the communities it serves, explained in part by Boone’s corporate philosophy: “We seek to produce the highest quality product the economics of the community can support. And then, by ingenuity and imagination, we strive for a higher quality in an effort to serve and build that community.”

The late Otis Ottway “Sam” Tucker Jr., and his brother-in-law, the late E.E. Franklin initially purchased The Charlotte Gazette and Kenbridge Victoria Dispatch in 1946. When Franklin passed away in the mid-1960s, Dot Tucker became co-publisher with her husband, Sam.

Dot took over the sole publisher’s role in 1981 following the death of her husband and has continued in that capacity until the recent purchase agreement.

Bo Tucker has served as The Charlotte Gazette editor for 35 years, with his brother, David Tucker, overseeing the commercial printing operation at the family’s Drakes Branch office.

The commercial printing operation will continue following the sale of the newspapers.