A brief history of our newspapers

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New England Newspapers Inc. — which comprises The Berkshire Eagle, Bennington Banner. Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal — will return to local control on May 2 after more than two decades of corporate ownership. On Thursday, the new owners of New England Newspapers Inc. — Fredric D. Rutberg, Robert G. Wilmers, John C. "Hans" Morris and Stanford Lipsey — formally announced they had acquired the publishing unit from Digital First Media.

The Berkshire Eagle

1789: The Stockbridge Star, later known as the Berkshire Star, is established. Considered among the oldest newspapers in the country, The Berkshire Eagle is the legitimate successor of the Stockbridge Star.

1852: The Berkshire County Eagle weekly edition is founded after a number of changes in name and printing locations.

1891: Kelton B. Miller purchases the publication.

May 9, 1892: The Berkshire Eagle publishes its first daily edition.

1960: The Miller family acquires the Bennington Banner.

1973: The Eagle wins a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for editorial writing.

1983: The Miller family acquires the Manchester Journal.

1995: Beset with debt from a costly renovation of the Clock Tower Business Park, the Miller family sells The Berkshire Eagle along with the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal, its group of newspapers to MediaNews Group of Denver.

2013: MediaNews Group is acquired, along with Journal Register Co. newspapers, by Alden Global Capital under the corporate umbrella Digital First Media.

The Bennington Banner

1841: Established as a weekly newspaper serving southern Vermont and nearby eastern New York

Late 1800s: Begins publishing twice weekly, later to be purchased by Frank E. Howe, who would serve as longtime publisher.

1903: The Bennington Evening Banner is launched as a daily newspaper.

1960: The Miller family — owner of The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass. — acquires the paper and renames it the Bennington Banner.

1967: The Banner wins the prestigious national Ayer Award for excellence in typography, make-up and printing.

1995: The Millers sell the Banner, along with The Berkshire Eagle, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal, to MediaNews Group of Denver.

2013: MediaNews Group is acquired, along with Journal Register Co. newspapers, by Alden Global Capital under the corporate umbrella Digital First Media.

The Manchester Journal

1861: The Manchester Journal is founded as a weekly in May 1861 by Charles A. Pierce, a publisher from Brattleboro.

1870: Pierce purchases the Bennington Banner.

1871: Pierce enlists D.K. Simonds to the staff; Simonds purchases the Journal later in the year and remains as owner, publisher and editor for the next 34 years.

1905: Simonds sells Journal to Otto Bennett, who serves as editor and publisher.

1940: Bennett's son, G. Stewart Bennett, takes the reins from his father.

1968: Bennett sells the Journal to Jim and Gayle Gall.

1983: The Miller family of Pittsfield, Mass., acquires the Journal.

1995: The Millers sell the Journal, along with The Berkshire Eagle, Brattleboro Reformer and Bennington Banner, to MediaNews Group of Denver.

2013: MediaNews Group is acquired, along with Journal Register Co. newspapers, by Alden Global Capital under the corporate umbrella Digital First Media.

The Brattleboro Reformer

1876: The Brattleboro Reformer is founded as a weekly by Charles N. Davenport, who serves as publisher.

1897: Davenport's son turns the Reformer into a twice-weekly.

1903: The Vermont Printing Co. acquires the Reformer.

1913: Merged with the Phoenix under the Brattleboro Publishing Co., one half owned by Walter Hubbard and the other half by Ephraim Crane and Howard Crosby Rice. Rice would eventually assume sole ownership.

1966: The Miller family of Pittsfield, Mass., acquires the Journal.

1971: Rice leaves the Reformer to his three children, Howard, Eleanor and Marion (and her husband John Hooper).

1989: Begins publishing same-sex union announcements.

1995: The Millers sell the Reformer, along with The Berkshire Eagle, Manchester Journal and Bennington Banner, to MediaNews Group.

2013: MediaNews Group is acquired, along with Journal Register Co. newspapers, by Alden Global Capital under the corporate umbrella Digital First Media.


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