Bodes say goodbye; sell newspapers

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By Alex Randolph on July 2, 2014. 5 Comments

In a purchase effective July 1, Highland Lakes Publishing, LP acquired the assets of Bar 30 Media, LLC including The Highlander, Burnet Bulletin, Llano County Journal, The Northshore Star and Lake Country Life, from Roy and Ellen Bode, who announced their retirement from the business today.

Mark Henry, a partner of Highland Lakes Publishing, LP, has assumed the post of editor and publisher for the group of publications. Other principal partners in Highland Lakes Publishing, LP are Jim Moser and Charles Moser with Moser Community Media, LLC of Brenham.

“Selling these newspapers was the most difficult decision I have made in over 50 years in journalism,” said Roy E. Bode, president and publisher of Bar 30 Media. “Ellen and I are proud of their historic contributions to the communities they serve and proud of the people who have made them some of the best weekly newspapers in Texas.

“We wanted to be equally proud of our successors – and we are,” he continued. Mark and the Moser family are capable and respected people who have been engaged in hometown Texas journalism for generations.”

Henry and his wife, Karel, have already moved to the area. Henry is a veteran of Texas community newspapers with over 30 years of experience in the industry.  He began his career at his hometown newspaper, The Huntsville Item, where he started in the advertising department and later served as circulation manager.

More recently, Henry has served as publisher of The Mexia News and, prior to that, he worked as the publisher of the Clifton Record and Meridian Tribune.  In these markets and others, Henry was active with the Rotary Club, the chambers of commerce, education foundations, Boys and Girls Club and other community organizations.

Henry has been involved with Texas Press Association and the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association serving on the board of directors for each.

“We are genuinely excited about becoming active members of the Highland Lakes community,” Henry said.  I look forward to working with the staff members here to continue producing the best community newspapers possible that satisfy the needs of all our readers and advertisers.”

Henry and his wife have two grown daughters, Beth and Erin, and four granddaughters, Kira, Bella, Kortney and Marlee, the most recent arrival born June 26.

Jim Moser, president of Moser Community Media, grew up in newspapers as the son of Charles, who served for more than 40 years as the editor and publisher of the Brenham Banner-Press. Jim Moser has served in various positions in small daily and weekly newspapers throughout Texas, including editor and publisher of the McKinney Courier-Gazette and then Jackson County Herald-Tribune (Edna). Charles Moser currently holds the title of Chief Consulting Officer for Moser Community Media.

Roy Bode and his wife, Ellen, formed Bar 30 Media, LLC when they bought the Highland Lakes Newspapers in 2006 and moved to Marble Falls from their ranch in Ellis County, south of Dallas. Soon afterward they asked Phil Schoch, a former colleague from the metropolitan newspaper business, to join the business as executive editor.  Over the past eight years, the papers again achieved pre-eminence in the Burnet/Llano County media market.  The Highlander was recognized as the best paper of its size in state press association competition and it and his sister newspapers earned dozens of other awards for general excellence, community service and editorial writing, news and sports coverage, advertising presentation, photography, and design.

In a time when large newspapers are struggling, the newspaper group was invited to the Lago Vista/Jonestown area by civic leaders who believed their communities were suffering from the absence of a local paper. Bode and his colleagues formed The Northshore Star there last year, the only new paid newspaper started in Texas in 2013.

“Intensely local newspapers like those we’ve been proud to own will continue to be vital to the life of every community for many, many years despite changes in lifestyles and technology,” said Bode.  “Mark and his partners also believe that and I am confident they will earn your support and trust.”

For the complete story, see the Friday edition of The Highlander, next Wednesday’s Burnet Bulletin or The Llano County Journal or The Northshore Star the following week. 


5 Responses to Bodes say goodbye; sell newspapers

  1. Bobbi Gage   July 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Congrats, Roy & Ellen! I learned so much from both of you during my time there.
    I hope y’all have big plans for the future!

  2. Thomas Edwards   July 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Congratulations to the Bodes and to their staff. The new owners are indeed Texas newspaper veterans with years and years of experience, and they will be good stewards of The Highlander and its sister newspapers. Both the Highlander (1959-present) and the Burnet Bulletin (1873-present) have been unstoppable and will remain so for decades. Good luck to all involved … this is great news for the readers of the Highland Lakes.

  3. Jim   July 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    What a great loss Roy Bode with be to the Highland Lakes and the Hill Country. He brought intelligent hard-hitting news coverage to the this area along with the experienced reporting team he assembled over the years. The LCRA or PEC management, corrupt politicians, and self-serving Austin conmen all had to watch out. That is the way a great press is and we were so fortunate to have newspapers ran and reported by experienced metropolitan newspaper reporters and editors. Let’s all hope that the new owners do not mess with a great thing!

  4. BobDog   July 4, 2014 at 2:11 am

    The Bodes are the real deal. Honest journalists, unafraid to do old-style investigative journalism, the kind that shines light on our public officials’ misdeeds, rather than providing cover for them.

    Best wishes to both.

    New owners: keep up the standards and let your light shine!

  5. Jo Karr Tedder   July 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Roy Bode has been a hard-hitting, tell-it-like-it-is journalist, but fair and equitable at the same time. He will be missed.

    Hopefully, the new management will continue with his same excellent coverage of our critical Highland Lakes region issues.

    Roy and Ellen, Best wishes from CTWC.


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