The Johnson City Press began 2020 under a new company name — Six Rivers Media, LLC.
Former owner Sandusky Newspapers Inc. sold all properties outside Northeast Tennessee, thus the formation of the new company with a name more reflective of the paper’s local ownership and presence.
Principals in the new company are David Rau, Allen Rau (who lives in the Tri-Cities) and Madeline Rau. David serves as CEO, Allen as vice president and Madeline as secretary. Rick Thomason, publisher of the Press and the Kingsport Times News, adds president of Six Rivers Media to his title.
In addition to the Press and the Times News, The Erwin Record, Jonesborough Herald & Tribune, the Mountain City Tomahawk, and digital agency NET360 round out Six Rivers Media.
Other than the name of the company and the fact that the Northeast Tennessee papers and accompanying digital agency operate as a single business instead of five separate businesses (NET360 formerly operated as part of Kingsport Publishing Company), the public will see little change.
“One of the first things we were all adamant about was that we keep our brands — some of them more than a century old — intact,” Thomason said. “Our communities know our newspapers by our long-established names and rely on those brands for more local, trusted and real news than from any other news source in the communities we serve. Those are the connections we are determined to keep, protect and cultivate.”
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Employees of the Northeast Tennessee properties were given a chance to weigh in on naming the new company. More than 120 potential names were submitted with 11 considered and Six Rivers Media rising to the top. The name was submitted by Times News reporter John Osborne who explained that the inspiration came from the six main rivers — North Holston, South Holston, Clinch, Nolichucky, Watauga and Doe — that flow through the footprint of the new company.