The Turlock Journal — along with its sister publications the Manteca/Ripon Bulletin, Oakdale Leader, Ceres Courier, Escalon Times, Riverbank News and 209 Magazine — is under new local ownership.
Hank and Kelly Vander Veen, both Central Valley natives, purchased the Morris Newspapers of California (MNC) publications, which owned the community newspapers and regional magazine, through their corporation, 209 Multimedia.
The new company has deep roots in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Hank Vander Veen has been group publisher of MNC for almost a decade. As publisher, he oversees the operations of all publications and is responsible for all aspects of the business. This includes editorial, content, production and financial responsibility for the six newspapers, 209 Magazine, other publications and related digital assets. The organization produces websites for all of the publications, has a video production studio and provides digital services for advertisers including building and hosting websites.
Vander Veen is no stranger to the newspaper business. He spent 25 years with The McClatchy Company with six years as publisher at the Merced Sun-Star. He started at The Modesto Bee in 1984 as a part time driver and worked his way through different management positions learning many aspects of the business along the way.
“I firmly believe that local community news organizations remain vital to our democracy as the trusted local source for news and information. I am committed to fostering that environment while meeting the needs of all of our dedicated advertisers and subscribers,” said Hank Vander Veen.
Vander Veen heads up a team including four editors that live and work in the communities they cover and have been doing so for more than 80 combined years. The organization prints all of its publications at its printing facility in Manteca. All current staff will transfer over to the new company.
MNC of California has owned the Bulletin since 1972, when it was purchased by Charles H. Morris, Sr. Morris took the Bulletin from a weekly to a daily and purchased the additional newspapers over the years. Morris owns Morris Multimedia based in Savannah, Georgia. Most of their publications and TV stations are located east of the Rocky Mountains. The sale will allow them to focus their efforts more geographically.
“We have worked with Hank Vander Veen over the years and he is extremely capable and talented and will continue the community publishing tradition for these communities for the years to come,” said Charles H. Morris, Sr.
The Bulletin — now in its 112th year — is the oldest business in Manteca. It was started in November 1908 as the Irrigation Bulletin. It was based in Ripon for several months before moving to Manteca.
The Turlock Journal is the oldest business in Turlock and was first published in 1904 when the town had just a few hundred people. MNC purchased the paper in 2004. The Ceres Courier was first published in 1910. Both operate out of the Turlock office located at 121 S. Center St. Studio 209, a weekly video production on all websites and other video projects, is also located out the Turlock office.
The Oakdale Leader, the group’s oldest newspaper, was first published in 1882. The Escalon Times and Riverbank News both published their first editions in 1910. All three operate out of the Oakdale office at 122 S. Third St.
209 Multimedia Corporation will continue the 111-year tradition of focusing on local coverage of the communities it serves as its most important mission.