History of The News-Enterprise
Although the newspaper did not carry its present name until 1974 when two competing newspapers were merged, The News-Enterprise traces its history to 1869 when the first issue of The Elizabethtown News was published by Judge J. W. Matthis and Capt. William F. Bell, a Confederate soldier.
In 1882, H. A. Summers, originally from Maryland, purchased the newspaper and converted to semi-frequency in 1906. Summers owned the newspaper until his death in 1937.
In 1926, Volume 1, Number 1 of The Hardin County Enterprise rolled off a handfed press on Thursday, September 16. Owned and promoted by C. J. Richerson as Just a Friendly Newspaper, the weekly newspaper's annual subscription price at the time was $1.25.
In 1934, Wesley Carter, of Campbellsville, bought The Hardin County Enterprise and began printing two issues a week.
In 1963, The Elizabethtown News was purchased by Mayor Leonard T. Bean operated under Bean Publishing Co. Floe Bowles, a Campbellsville native who had moved to Elizabethtown in 1936 for the opportunity to earn $25 a week as a Linotype operator, became the publishing company's Vice President & General Manager.
On January 14, 1969, The Elizabethtown News printed its first issue on a new offset press, the same basic printing technology used today. This was just months after the newspaper merged with seven other Central Kentucky weekly newspapers to form Newspapers, Inc.
In 1973, Landmark Communications, Inc., a media company based in Norfolk, VA, acquired Newspapers, Inc. Seven months later, the company purchased The Hardin County Enterprise.
On July 2, 1974, The News-Enterprise was created as a result of the merger of The Elizabethtown News and The Hardin County Enterprise into a single title weekly newspaper. That September, the newspaper began daily publication with editions each afternoon Monday through Friday.
Many locals felt there was no need for another daily newspaper in the community, given the strong presence of The Louisville Courier-Journal within the local market. By the following June, The News-Enterprise's circulation had bottomed out at 6,500. Still, its staff persevered, working hard to provide quality news coverage and advertising services.
By June 1985, The News-Enterprise converted from its afternoon frequency cycle to a morning publication, part of a growing trend among community dailies throughout the country. Three months later, a Sunday edition was added.
Bowles, who had served as the newspaper's publisher since 1975, was succeeded by Frank Batten, Jr. in 1987. Bowles remained involved in the newspaper as publisher emeritus. Batten, son of Frank Batten, Sr., founder of Landmark Communications, had joined the staff of The News-Enterprise as general manager two years earlier.
Following his tenure as publisher, Batten, Jr. took over leadership of the media company and has directed tremendous growth and success as Landmark's chairman. Past and current holdings of the company have included The Weather Channel; Dominion Enterprises, a Norfolk-based information and marketing services company; major metropolitan newspapers including The Virginian-Pilot, Greensboro News & Record, and Roanoke Times; dozens of weekly, semi-frequency and daily community newspapers across the country; television stations; and various technology businesses.
Mike Anders, a Missouri native, succeeded Batten in 1989. Anders had served in a variety of editorial, general management and corporate staff positions within Landmark prior to taking the publisher role at The News-Enterprise.
By 1993, Bowles had stepped down from his publisher emeritus role following a 57-year newspaper career in Hardin County. The city roadway circling the newspaper's offices and printing plant, Floe Bowles Way, recognizes and commemorates Bowles leadership and lasting legacy.
In 2002, Sarah Baker, a Greensboro, SC native, succeeded Anders. Prior to joining The News-Enterprise, Baker had held a variety of corporate staff accounting and finance leadership positions within Landmark.
Western Kentucky native Chris Ordway now serves as publisher of The News-Enterprise. Ordway joined Landmark at its community daily The Citrus County Chronicle in Crystal River, FL as an entry level advertising sales representative. There, he worked in various leadership roles including advertising director, circulation director and as an active member of the newspaper's Editorial Board. Ordway was promoted to publisher of The News-Enterprise in 2004.
Today, The News-Enterprise provides compelling and important news, entertainment and advertising information for a large and growing print and online audience. In addition to the core 6-day print edition, the newspaper publishes a portfolio of niche publications of various frequencies across several business segments. The newspaper also provides offset web printing, advertising graphic design, circulation and classified advertising billing, content design and pagination and other services to intercompany and commercial customers across the region.