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Media group buys Zephyrhills weekly

By MOLLY MOORHEAD
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 31, 2003

ZEPHYRHILLS -- The Zephyrhills News, the city's 92-year-old weekly newspaper, was sold this week to Scripps Newspapers Inc.

The Winter Park-based company bought the paper from Republic Newspapers of Knoxville, Tenn., which was founded with the purchase of the Zephyrhills News in 1988.

Publisher Chris Drews said Thursday he expects little change in the newsroom under the new ownership.

Drews will keep the same responsibilities, and the current staff will remain intact, he said.

"I think we'll grow," Drews said of the purchase. "New management gives the paper a new outlook, new ideas."

Drews said the sale has been in the works since December. The new owner's goals are to increase circulation and visibility in the community, he said.

Barry Scripps, owner of Scripps Newspapers, could not be reached Thursday. His company is not affiliated with E.W. Scripps Co., which owns several newspapers and television stations around the United States.

Republic president Nick Drewry told the News his company is turning its focus toward holdings in Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas.

The Zephyrhills News has had several owners since its founding in 1911, including the New York Times Co.

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