Emmerich is planning to hire the entire Leader-Call staff and begin publishing Sunday, April 15. The Chronicle will move into its new location on 212 16th Street immediately.
The Chronicle will publish three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Subscriptions will cost $5 a month and 75 cents on the newsstand. The format will be a modern, compact Berliner size with all color pages.
"We believe in the importance of community news," Emmerich said. "We were shocked to hear of the closure of the Leader-Call. We tried to buy it, but the parent company would not sell for legal reasons. So we decided to start The Chronicle. We are delighted to save these jobs. The Leader-Call has a good staff of professionals. Jones County has 68,000 people and a billion dollars a year in retail sales. It deserves a daily newspaper and we hope to build our way back to that. This was an opportunity we simply could not pass up."
Emmerich Newspapers publishes 25 community newspapers primarily in Mississippi, as well as community websites and magazines. It was founded by Oliver Emmerich of McComb, Mississippi, 90 years ago. Wyatt Emmerich is the third generation Emmerich publisher. The top editorial writing award in Mississippi is named for Oliver Emmerich. The award has been won by Wyatt Emmerich and his father, John Emmerich, who was editor and publisher of the Greenwood Commonwealth for 25 years.
"We just had a record year of profits," Emmerich said. "We believe in the vitality of community newspapers. We believe we have succeeded by concentrating on editorial quality and local news gathering. During the Great Recession, we did not lay off a single editorial employee. We hope to bring this quality to Laurel and Jones County. Nothing would make us happier than to grow The Chronicle back to a seven-day daily newspaper. The market is easily big enough to support it."
"The philosophy of Emmerich Newspapers is entirely different than many of the giant newspaper companies in the country today," Emmerich said, "We believe in succeeding by great writing and great local coverage, not by cutting costs to the bone."
The original Laurel Chronicle was one of the first newspapers in Jones County, appearing 100 years ago, before being succeeded by other publications such as the Laurel Argus, the Laurel Leader and the Laurel Call.