Flag Family Media buys Watford City newspaper | State and Region

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Flag Family Media, based in Fargo, announced on Tuesday that it has purchased McKenzie County Farmerthe weekly based in Watford City in the oil patch of North Dakota.

The sale includes Watford City’s newspaper, online properties, social media accounts and commercial property. The company previously owned by Neal and Lisa Shipman will operate under the new McKenzie County Media LLC.

This is the company’s first purchase of a non-radio entity. Flag Family Media owns “The Flag” radio stations in Fargo and Tioga, as well as three stations in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

The ownership transition takes effect on July 1. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“This is an exciting day for our company,” Steve Hallstrom, president and managing partner of Flag Family Media, said in a statement. “The McKenzie County Farmer has a rich tradition, serving the Watford City area since 1908. The town has grown from 1,500 to 10,000 in just six years, making it one of the fastest growing towns fast in the country. We know this community well and our neighboring radio assets provide us with a wonderful opportunity to join forces and serve readers and the business community. »

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Neal Shipman


The Farmer formed in 1908 in Arnegard. Neal Shipman is the third generation of his family to run it.

He worked as a “printer’s devil” until he graduated from high school in 1970. He returned in 1983 to take over as editor and publisher, a position he occupied since.

“I am 70 years old, I want to spend time with my children and my grandchildren and enjoy Watford City without having a camera around my neck and a notebook in my pocket,” he told the Tribune.

He said he was “really excited to see what’s going to happen here” with the new owner.

Contact Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or [email protected]

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