Mirror-Reporter sold to Mid-America Publishing

(Above) Mirror-Reporter Owner/Publisher Mike Finnegan with Mid-America Publishing President and CEO Ryan Harvey.-Reporter photo.

After nearly 35 years of ownership, Mike Finnegan has sold the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter to Mid-America Publishing Corporation, of Hampton, Iowa, effective March 1, 2018.

The Mirror-Reporter will be added to the Hampton-based corporation’s growing roster of 30 Iowa weekly newspapers and shoppers.

“I’ve worked for Mid-America for nearly 21 years,” said Ryan Harvey, president and CEO of Mid-America Publishing.  “During that time, I rarely missed an issue of the Reporter.  Mike has an impressive operation.  He has always been a strategic thinker who has always looked out for his community. That’s something we will continue to strive to do in conjunction with the Mirror’s staff.”

As part of the acquisition, aside from Finnegan, the entire staff has been asked to continue on with the paper.

“For over 34 years I have been privileged to be the publisher of the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter and I can honestly say I don’t think there was ever a day where I dreaded going in to work,” said Finnegan.  “I always knew that every week we were going to produce a product this community could be proud of and the reason I knew it was because of the staff I have been privileged to work with day in and day out.  They are the most talented group of people I have ever been associated with.  I congratulate Mid-America for wanting to keep this staff intact and for realizing this newspaper would not be where it is at today without the efforts of this amazing group of people.”

Mid-America Publishing Corporation is a closely held family run company owned primarily by Jeanette M. Grohe, the granddaughter of the founder, Willard D. Archie, and her husband, Matt Grohe, who also serves as the company’s chairman.

In 1983, Mid-America sold the Mirror-Reporter to Finnegan and Prefin, Inc.

“We are excited to re-assume the ownership of The Mirror-Reporter after all of these years,” said Harvey.  “We believe this fits naturally with our corporate footprint and our company as a whole.”

Harvey will personally assume the leadership of the Mirror-Reporter.

“While selling a business that has been such a big part of my life was not easily arrived at, I knew that for this newspaper to continue to grow, new leadership along with new ideas was essential,” said Finnegan.  “I believe Mid-America will be the perfect fit to implement those changes.  With the number of newspapers they own and the knowledge each of those newspapers bring I think Clear Lake will continue to experience the strong and community minded publication it deserves.”

The Mirror-Reporter will join Mid-America’s portfolio of weekly newspapers: The Buffalo Center Tribune; The Leader, with offices in Garner and Britt; The Pioneer Enterprise in Rockwell; The Sheffield Press; the Hampton Chronicle; the Ida County Courier, in Ida Grove; the Holstein Advance; the Aurelia Star; the Calmar Courier; Postville Herald; The Outlook, in Monona; the Eldora Herald-Ledger and Hardin County Index, with an office in Eldora; the Grundy Register, in Grundy Center; the Parkersburg Eclipse-News-Review; the Wright County Monitor, in Clarion and Dows; the Eagle Grove Eagle; the Butler County Tribune-Journal (Allison); the Clarksville Star, the Ogden Reporter, and the Graphic-Advocate, with offices in Lake City and Rockwell City.

The company also owns and operates newspapers in southeast Iowa, namely, the News-Review, in Sigourney, the Keota Eagle, Keota, and the Sun, with offices in New Sharon and Fremont.  The company additionally produces a weekly political newspaper, the Conservative Chronicle, as well as several TMC shoppers, such as the Hampton Chronicle’s Bonus in Hampton, the Spectrum in Lake City-Rockwell City, the Leader’s Shopper News Review in Garner, the Reminder in Ida Grove; and the Wright County Reminder in Clarion; plus a monthly shopper, the Dual County Leader, based in Eagle Grove serving Wright and Hamilton Counties. Additionally, the company publishes north central Iowa’s only Latino-oriented newspaper, Viva Iowa! which serves Franklin and Wright Counties.

Mid-America also operates a custom printing division, that offers individualized printing and publishing solutions such as banners, posters, postcards, direct mailing, mailing list management, letterhead design, newsletter management, and dozens of other marketing and promotional products which it plans to make available locally in the Clear Lake area.

From the outset, the biggest changes for the Mirror-Reporter will be the transfer of the circulation and billing through its Hampton office. The printing of the newspaper will remain with the company’s Hampton facility. 

“While I’m not sure what’s in store for me after this change in ownership, I do know I’m not ready for full blown retirement,” continued Finnegan.  “As much as I like to golf, I don’t think I could actually play it five days a week.  In the beginning I’ll take a little time off, get a home office set up and then look for something that interests me and probably add in a little volunteer work.  In any case, I do know I’ll be looking at my weekly copy of the Mirror-Reporter very intently.”

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