Meet a New Local News Owner (And NewStart Fellow)

Mar. 19, 2021

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing the stories of new fellows entering our NewStart program as part of our second cohort.

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen mentions from several folks who have already been accepted.

That includes Maggie McGuire, who dropped some big news on Wednesday:

The deal to acquire the Moab Sun News has been in the works since November, and the paperwork for the deal was signed March 1.

It’s a quick rise for McGuire at the weekly publication. She was hired in 2019 as managing editor after spending time as a freelancer.

Now, she’s the owner.

“I’m really excited to quit being a back-seat driver and take my idea and put it to the test,” she said.

Journalism seems to be in McGuire’s blood. Both of her parents worked for their hometown paper in Michigan. And her great-grandfather also ran a newspaper.

Now, McGuire will learn via WVU's NewStart program how to carry on that tradition in new ways, including through the diversification of revenue sources and by engaging new and existing audiences.

“With fewer and fewer newspapers, that sense of community and the ability to draw on others’ experiences and not have to go it on your own is in danger,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to engaging with people who know how to run a newspaper and small business in the communities we’re serving. It’s probably not dinner table talk for everyone. … I’m really jazzed about sharing the nuts and bolts and sharing the experience with them.”

Until Year 2 of the NewStart program starts, McGuire is getting acclimated with the business side of the Sun News, and is looking for new ways to connect with her Moab community. For example, she donated years of leather-bound editions of the paper to the public library, where they are now available in a local history section for the community to explore and learn from.

“Being able to share that with the community in general, and increase their awareness of what’s gone on over past 10 years, I just love it,” she said. “That’s been, overall, the thing that has excited me the most. I’m excited for all the ways the paper can expand the sense of the community, (showcase) itself as a viable business, but that it also is a social good and serves a social purpose. It’s really cool. We’re not just selling burgers, so that’s rad. I’m 100 percent getting to live my values, and that’s awesome.”