Tribune acquires Monroe Local, Walton Living

By staff reports

Monroe Media Inc. and The Walton Tribune proprietor and publisher Patrick Graham (center) announced the purchase of Your Local News assets Thursday from Sharon Swanepoel (left) and Melanie Jackson. Your Local News Inc. has operated the Monroe Local website and published Walton Living magazine. Photo credit:Stephen Milligan | The Walton Tribune

Monroe Media Inc. has acquired the assets of Your Local News Inc., which most notably includes the Monroe Local website and Walton Living magazine, the leaders of the two companies announced today.
Monroe Media Inc. is owned by Patrick Graham, proprietor and publisher of The Walton Tribune. Your Local News Inc. is owned by Sharon Swanepoel and her equity partner Melanie Jackson, who were the co-publishers of the website and magazine.
The acquisition was consummated during a closing Wednesday at the law offices of Preston & Malcom Attorneys at Law.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to add products the caliber of Monroe Local and Walton Living to The Tribune’s portfolio and at the same time add people the caliber of Sharon and Melanie to our team to assist us in operating them,” Graham said. “Each has an extensive history of serving our community both professionally and personally and will greatly bolster our ability to even better serve our readers and advertisers.”
Both Swanepoel and Jackson have previously worked at The Tribune, which makes the transition a bit of a homecoming for the pair.
“It seems fitting for The Walton Tribune to take over Your Local News. It feels like I, personally, have come full circle,” Swanepoel said. “I started my career in journalism as a correspondent for The Walton Tribune back in 1996 and here we are back together again.”
After leaving The Tribune, Swanepoel worked briefly for the digital company Patch before founding Your Local News Inc. in 2013. She purchased Walton Living magazine the next year. Jackson joined Swanepoel as co-publisher in 2016.
“We’ve been serving the Walton County and East Gwinnett communities for the past nine years,” Swanepoel said. “It has been a concern of mine for a while as to what would happen to the publications when we chose to take on a slower pace and eventually ride off into the sunset. This guarantees that the service will continue, just in the capable hands of Patrick Graham and the staff of The Walton Tribune. After all, The Tribune has been here for well over a century already so I don’t see it going anywhere soon. This just seems right.”
Jackson added, “Most of my career has been in sales and marketing in various capacities most recently with Your Local News. As we turn corners in our lives and go through changes, we don’t want to lose what we had, but we go onto new horizons and new opportunities. I think this union with The Walton Tribune will not only give us the opportunity to continue to serve the community but perhaps even serve the community more than in the past.
“I’m looking forward to the future and what it will bring for all of us.”
Graham said there are no immediate plans to make changes to the products or their formats as currently constituted. He added he will enjoy having Swanepoel and Jackson back as contributors rather than competitors.
“Sharon and Melanie have set a high bar in terms of their dedication to community journalism,” Graham said. “It’s an honor and a privilege that they have entrusted us to build on the solid foundation of service they have established.”

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