Tulsa World editors to stay independent

Feb. 26, 2013 at 7:26 AM
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TULSA, Okla., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Executives at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s BH Media Group said editorial decisions would stay local at their newest purchase, Oklahoma's Tulsa World newspaper.

"When it comes to news, you're not going to hear from me. I just want to assure you that there's no one from Omaha looking down your throats and trying to tell you how to cover Tulsa," said Larry King, BH Media Group's vice president for news and content, the Tulsa World reported Tuesday.

BH Media Group, owners of an eclectic set of businesses including BNSF railroad, Fruit of the Loom and Helzberg Diamonds, announced Monday it would purchase the Tulsa World from the Lorton family for undisclosed terms.

The purchase would add to BH Media's collection of 28 daily and 42 weekly newspapers, of which the Tulsa World will be the third largest behind Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald and Virginia's Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The management team is expected to stay intact, except that Tulsa World President and Chief Operating Officer John Bair will take over as publisher and chief executive officer and current Publisher Robert E. Lorton III will depart.

That departure comes with "mixed emotions," Bair said, having worked for the Lorton family for 12 years.

Moreover, the Lorton family has been running Tulsa World for more than 100 years.

"The Lortons have been living and writing Oklahoma history for over a century," Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said.

"Under their leadership, the Tulsa World has become a successful business and a widely read paper. My thanks go out to a great Oklahoma family for their contributions to the state and to journalism," she said.

The Tulsa World has a daily circulation of 95,000 and a Sunday circulation of 133,000 and is profitable, the newspaper said.

Vice President for Content Development at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Rick Thornton said BH Media hasn't forced editorial changes at that newspaper, which was purchased last year.

"They haven't gotten in the middle of anything news-wise or editorial-wise. Those are all local decisions that are made by our editors," he said.

The newspaper published its first edition in 1905 and the Lorton family bought into the business in 1911 and became the sole owners in 1917.

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