In 2021, O’Rourke Media Group acquired two newspapers in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin — Republican Eagle and Star Observer — and launched four new local websites in Red Wed, Hudson, Hastings and River Falls. OMG acquired Cannon Falls Beacon in May 2020.
At a time when many local newspapers across the country are shutting down, or reducing their news staff, O’Rourke Media Group has hired reporters to cover and expand local news coverage. The company focuses on providing multi-channel advertising and marketing solutions to local businesses, including a full-service in-house digital agency.
On January 1, 2021, Forum Communications sold the Red Wing and Hudson newspapers to O’Rourke Media Group.
“We are excited to discover new and better ways to serve our readers and advertisers,” said O’Rourke Media Group CEO Jim O’Rourke.
Community newspapers focus on disseminating news and local information useful to readers in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
In August, O’Rourke launched Hastings Star-Gazette as an online website, focused on local content. In August, reporter Sophia Voight began providing coverage of the city. Alec Hamilton provides sports coverage for the Hastings teams.
“From day one, we have sponsored the relaunch and re-establishment of Hastings Star-Gazette as the top provider of local news in Hastings,” O’Rourke said. The site features daily and timely stories covering business, crime, courts, community events, government meetings, outdoor activities, high school sports, and more. The content is free and easy to access on any device.
“We are evaluating the possibility of reprinting Hastings Star-Gazette in early spring,” O’Rourke said.
In River Falls in April, OMG launched the River Falls Journal. Reporter Hannah Coyle has been hired to cover the news in town. River Falls resident Bob Burroughs provides sports coverage for high school and the University of Wisconsin River Falls.
“I am pleased with the progress our company has made since entering these markets in 2021,” O’Rourke said. “We have a solid base of subscribers, online users and local advertisers, and I believe we have the best sales and news teams in the market.”
The family-owned and operated O’Rourke Media Group was founded in 2018 and has acquired community publications in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Arizona and New Mexico. In all, O’Rourke Media Group owns 23 local print newspapers and a website. O’Rourke Media Group’s purchase of the formerly owned forum publications included nameplates for a number of the forum’s newspapers that are no longer published to allow for additional relaunch potential in the coming years.