All in the families

After four generations, Jones family sells papers to Adams family

Selling the family business was not an easy decision


Jones Media, a fourth-generation family-owned newspaper publisher, sold its assets to Adams Publishing Group, another family-owned publisher headed by Steve Adams.

Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed. Cribb, Greene & Cope of Charlottesville, Va., represented Jones Media in the sale.

“After 100 years of family ownership, selling Jones Media was not an easy decision for our family,” Jones Media President and CEO Gregg Jones said. “However, there was no clear succeeding generation of our family working in the business, so we came to the difficult decision nearly a year ago that selling was the best option for our employees and the communities we serve.”

Newspapers in the sale include Tennessee publication The Greeneville Sun; The Daily Post-Athenian in Athens; The Daily Times in Maryville; The Newport Plain Talk; The Rogersville Review; News-Herald in Loudon County; The Connection in Tellico Village; The Advocate & Democrat in Monroe County; and The Herald-News in Dayton. North Carolina publications sold include the Watauga Democrat in Boone; The Mountain Times in Watauga County; Ashe Mountain Times in West Jefferson; The Avery (County) Journal-Times; and The Blowing Rocket in Blowing Rock.

Jones Media’s holdings also include a tourist publication operation and a full-service digital marketing solutions firm, High Road Digital, based in Johnson City, Tenn.

Minneapolis-based Adams Publishing Group owns and operates newspapers and printing plants in 11 states and is a division of an Adams company that owns and operates a number of other businesses, including Adams Outdoor, Fairway Outdoor, Adams Radio Group, Good Sam, Camping World, and wineries and vineyards in the United States and Europe.

“We’re very excited to welcome Jones Media to our family of companies,” said Steve Adams. “Through generations of stewardship, Jones Media is considered one of the premier newspaper and digital companies in the country. We salute the Jones family and all of the Jones associates for their fine work, and look forward to a prosperous future.”

For his part, Gregg Jones said, “We felt deeply that the new owner of the company needed to reflect the family’s value system and support for community newspapers and their staffs. “The Adams family shares our own family’s passionate belief in a bright future for the community newspaper business, one that includes ink on paper as well as one that aggressively embraces the opportunities for new, exciting products and services made possible in our ever-emerging digital world,” Jones said.

All of Jones Media’s full-time employees will be offered employment and benefits with the Adams Publishing Group, the two companies said at the sale closing Sept. 1.

Gregg Jones will continue as president and CEO of Jones Media, a role he has held for more than 15 years, and succeeda his late father, John M. Jones, III, as publisher of The Greeneville Sun.

Additionally, Steve Adams and his family have asked Gregg Jones to assume a greater leadership position within their overall newspaper publishing operations nationally.

“I have accepted the Adams’ offer,” Jones concluded, “for which I am grateful and deeply complimented.”