Mores Family sells Harlan Newspapers after 81 years of service to the community
HARLAN – The Mores family made one of the biggest changes to its 81-year legacy in the newspaper industry by selling the Harlan Newspapers. On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Louie Mullen, owner of Blackbird LLC, became the new owner of the business. Co-publishers Alan Mores and Steve Mores are confident that Mullen’s organization will carry on the news and advertising coverage that the community has come to expect from the Harlan Newspapers.
“We are excited to see the positive changes that Blackbird LLC will bring to the paper with fresh ideas and technology. Although the newspaper industry and the dissemination of news continue to evolve, the role that newspapers play in their local communities remains extremely important,” said Alan Mores and Steve Mores in a joint statement.
“I’m humbled and honored Steve and Alan would give me this opportunity,” Mullen said. “The Mores family have run an amazing business. They’re a testament to our industry.”
Effective immediately, Mullen named veteran journalist and longtime publisher Joshua Byers to lead the organization.
“Mullen and his new publisher both share our primary ideology that newspapers should strive to be a reflection of the communities they serve through their local staffs,” Steve Mores said.
“We are confident that Mullen and Byers will be embraced and will thrive because of this. As a family we have prided ourselves on innovation and caring for employees, our community and our advertisers,” added Alan Mores.
Mullen grew up in Iowa and said he couldn’t have been more excited when the opportunity to own Harlan Newspapers came up.
“Community newspapers reflect the soul of America,” Mullen said. “At our best, we’re just a reflection of the community, our businesses, and our families. And it’s clear, if you look at our paper, it’s a beautiful community.”
Byers said he’s been impressed by the staff’s dedication and has enjoyed getting to know Steve and Alan.
“I’m really looking forward to getting involved in the community and continuing the great legacy that Steve and Alan have built,” Byers said. “Those are some big shoes to fill.”
The Harlan Newspapers and the Mores family have a long history together. The history of the paper, itself, dates back to 1870, making it one of Harlan’s oldest operating businesses.
Leo Mores, father of Alan and Steve, along with his business partner at the time Wayne Cramer, purchased what was then the Harlan Tribune in 1939. In 1968, Leo’s oldest son, Steve, became the associate publisher. In 1980, Leo’s youngest son, Alan, joined the family business and became co-publisher with Steve in 1984.
The Harlan Newspapers has accumulated 289 state and national awards under the Mores family leadership, along with its team of highly talented writers, designers, sales staff and production crew. It has always encouraged staff to assume leadership and community service roles and, currently, the staff includes the mayor of Harlan, a school board member, former Harlan City Council member, church leaders, and community volunteers.
Leadership and Investment in Future Journalists
In a first for the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA), three members of one family – Leo Mores, Steve Mores and Alan Mores, were all individually awarded “Master-Editor-Publisher” designation, the highest INA status. On the INA Foundation side, “Heritage Club” membership has been awarded to Leo Mores, Irene Mores, Steve Mores, Alan Mores, retired head pressman Terry Holdren and marketing manager Mike Kolbe. In addition, Alan Mores is a past president of both INA and the INA Foundation.
The Mores family funds, through INA, the “Leo Mores Newspaper Leadership Institute,” now in its 12th year, which is designed to enhance the leadership, organizational and performance skills of emerging leaders in Iowa journalism. The Mores family also funds two Iowa State University (ISU) scholarships in community journalism, as well as the ISU “Leo Mores Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalism” club.
Mullen lives in Buffalo, WY with his wife and children. He owns weekly newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and, now, a twice-weekly in Iowa. He grew up in the industry, starting as a paperboy for the Sioux City Journal at the age of four, and has served in almost every newspaper position, ranging from janitor to reporter to publisher.
Mullen’s father is a longtime community newspaper publisher and owner, and his two brothers are also tied to the newspaper industry.
“We were impressed by Mullen from the moment we visited with him, and we are confident that his organization will provide a great future for the Harlan Newspapers,” Alan and Steve said.
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