Stewart McLeod, owner and publisher of The Clayton News-Star since 1997, announced today that he is selling the newspaper to the News & Observer Publishing Company.
"This was not an easy decision, and one that I thoughtfully and prayerfully considered for some time," McLeod said. "I weighed the interests of my family and the Clayton community and determined that a change in ownership is best for the continued success of the newspaper.
"The Clayton News-Star is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The News & Observer has the resources to insure that it will be around for another 100 years," McLeod said.
Editor Brian Rapp and Sports Editor Jim Green will join the News & Observer community news staff. McLeod will serve as advertising director of the News-Star. The newspaper will continue to operate from the offices at 109 Ellington St. in downtown Clayton.
The Clayton News-Star will increase circulation to 17,000 and become a semi-weekly, with Wednesday and Sunday publications. The first expanded edition will be published on Wednesday, Aug. 3, with the Sunday edition launching Aug. 7.
The News & Observer's Garner-Clayton Record will no longer be distributed in the Clayton area and will be renamed the Garner-Cleveland Record.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to build on the success that Stewart McLeod has achieved with this popular paper," said News & Observer Publisher Orage Quarles. "With a Sunday edition and increased distribution, the News-Star will be able to offer more content to readers and more marketing power to advertisers."
With the purchase, the News & Observer will expand its community newspaper group to 10 publications. The Smithfield Herald and East Wake News also are part of the network.
"I'm excited about the future," McLeod said, "especially having two editions. For the past 14 years, The Clayton News-Star has been good to me and my family, and the entire Clayton community has been a most supportive and loyal friend. For that, I am very thankful, and I look forward to continuing to invest my time and energy in the paper and in Clayton.
"I am extremely appreciative of the efforts and excellent work of the newspaper over the years. My sincere thanks go to the present staff of Brian Rapp, Jim Green, Diane O'Brien and Suzanne Benoy and part-timers Laura Crosio, Raiford Johnson and Holly Lock for their expertise, dedication and loyalty," McLeod added. "They are more than employees; they are part of my family.
"With the help of many good people, including my late editor, Margaret Ritchie, and now-retired advertising manager, Shirley Johnson, the News-Star grew with the Clayton community and became an integral part of its fabric. I am proud to have been a part of its ownership history."
McLeod purchased The Clayton News-Star from Ralph Delano of Benson on Jan. 1, 1997. The paper was founded on Sept. 1, 1911, with W.S. Penn as editor. (read more)