The Houston Herald, the county’s longest continuously operating business, is under new ownership under a transaction effective May 1.
The county-seat weekly that was founded in 1878 was purchased by Buse Media LLC, which is owned by Isaiah Buse, a Houston native who worked for the newspaper in high school and college. Buse becomes only the fourth publisher of the newspaper since 1900. The seller, Brad Gentry, said he was pleased that the newspaper would continue to be a local, independently owned newspaper. Readers won’t see any changes, and all the publication’s employees will be retained. The Herald is one of only a handful of county-seat weekly newspapers in the state that are not owned by corporate chains.
“I think this is the best outcome I could have hoped for the community,” said Gentry, 60, who acquired the business in 1996 and whose association with the newspaper began as a 15-year-old high schooler. Other than time away at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Gentry has spent his entire adult life in Houston as an employee and owner at the paper.
“Taking ownership of the Houston Herald, which has been around for 145 years, and has had few owners is a weighty responsibility,” says Buse. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with an institution that has played such an important role in the community for so long. As the new owner, I feel a sense of obligation to maintain the publication’s credibility and integrity, which are essential to its continued success.”
Buse recognizes the publication’s loyal audience and reputation and is committed to upholding these values. “The publication has a rich history and a strong relationship with its readers. I want to continue to provide them with the high-quality journalism they expect while also adapting to changing times and technology,” he says. “I believe that by embracing new technologies and platforms, we can expand our reach and better serve the community.” Buse is excited to take on this challenge and is dedicated to ensuring that the publication remains a vital part of the community for years to come.
Buse said Gentry will continue to work during a transaction period under an agreement struck last summer. “I’ve been blessed. The community has been great to me and I hope I’ve held up my end of the deal. I’ve had a great team around me,” Gentry said.
That team won hundreds of state press awards over three decades. In two projects, the newspaper made its archives available online from the late 1880s to the present.
Gentry has told Buse he’ll continue to be active in volunteer efforts in the community. He is president of Downtown Houston Inc., a group that restored the Melba Theatre, constructed the Lone Star Plaza, created quarters for University Extension and turned a decades-old vacant grocery building into a welcome center. He is a member of the Houston Community Foundation and sits on the Texas County Library Foundation board that is about to launch a construction project to build a new library in downtown Houston. Gentry has a long association with the library and served on the founding board that brought the internet to Texas County without any long-distance charges.
Buse is no stranger to the publication. About two years ago, he led the newspaper’s transition to a new website publishing platform used by about 300 publications in the United States and the world. The move gave the newspaper access to tools that have greatly enhanced its digital business. Between the weekly newspaper, its free publication distributed in the county, The Messenger, and digital products, its print and digital news and advertising are seen by more people than at any time in its 145-year history.
Buse and his fiancée, Danielle Walker, who is studying to be a physical therapist assistant, purchased a home in Houston last month.