‘Bridgton News’ sold

CHANGING HANDS — After owning The Bridgton News since 1870, the Shorey family has sold the newspaper to longtime editor Wayne E. Rivet (second from the left). Pictured left to right, Mary Shorey, Rivet, Stephen and Mary Shorey. (Geraghty Photo)

Since 1870, the Shorey family has owned and operated The Bridgton News.

A new era started last week at the award-winning newspaper. Longtime editor Wayne E. Rivet and his wife, Susan, purchased the newspaper from the Shorey family.

“We are truly blessed to be given this opportunity to carry forward the Shorey family’s tradition of journalistic integrity, the relentless drive to inform the reading public and a commitment to make a positive impact upon the community we serve,” Wayne Rivet said. “I have the utmost respect for the high standards the Shorey family developed in over 100 years of ownership and will strive to produce a newspaper each week that reflects those qualities.”

Stephen Shorey, who joined the newspaper in 1973 and has served as publisher and president of the Bridgton News Corporation, decided to retire this year. His search for a new owner led him to Rivet, who joined the staff in 1984 and worked his way up the leadership chain, starting as a general reporter. He became sports editor and later, the editor.

“The problem was to find someone who wanted to continue the tradition of a small weekly newspaper. Luckily, I was able to convince Wayne to accept the challenge,” he said. “Wayne has been the heart and soul of The News since he joined us and later became editor after my mother retired.”

He added, “From the beginning, Wayne gave the extra effort to create excellence, which is reflected in his many Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest awards. He is the youngest member of the full-time staff so he should have the energy to do his job and mine, also.”

Back on Sept. 9, 1870, founder Major Henry A. Shorey wrote, “In a certain sense, the launching of a newspaper in this place seemed an experiment, as several other men of experience in the ‘art of preservative’ and professional editorial had the thought of doing the very same thing, but who, after prospecting the field, had hardly sufficient faith in the scheme to attempt to carry it out.” After interviewing several in Bridgton, Major Shorey decided the “experiment” was worth a trial.

The trial proved to be a success as The News has been a reliable source of information for Lake Region area readers and a platform for local advertisers for 141 years.

Owned by one family, the newspaper was built on the premise to provide readers with fair, accurate and well-written stories. As editor, Eula Shorey impressed upon her staff the importance of accuracy and professionalism, as well as including a little bit of history whenever possible “so newcomers would understand how we got to this point.” Over the past 30 years, BN staff members consistently were recognized by their journalistic peers for writing excellence — a point of pride for the Shorey family.

“During their lifetimes, and in particular the 1950s through the 1980s, my parents — Henry and Eula — focused much of their attention on the life of the town and the production of The Bridgton News. The paper was such a central part of our family’s existence that we often thought of it as a member of the family — my mother, my father, my brother, myself and The Bridgton News,” said Stephen’s sister, Mary Shorey. “I believe each generation of Shoreys held it in the same regard. We are pleased that the BNews stayed a part of the Shorey family throughout my parents’ lifetimes and are equally pleased that it will stay in The Bridgton News family with ownership being passed down to someone who truly cares about the newspaper’s future and the town of Bridgton.”

She added, “Wayne (Rivet) has been with the paper for many years, worked with my parents and my brother, and knows their concerns and wishes for Bridgton. He shares their enthusiasm for keeping the people of the Lake Region informed.”

“I would like to thank all our employees for sticking by us, most of whom have been with us for decades. In this rough economy, it has been impossible to pay them what they deserve,” Stephen Shorey said. “Finally, I thank our readers and advertising customers. I always tried to give you more value than the competition, and I think I succeeded in that.”

Challenges ahead

Like media outlets across the country, The News has felt the economic pinch caused by the recession.

“First, I thank all our loyal readers who continue to value receiving their copies of The Bridgton News each week. We will continue to seek readers’ opinions regarding what they would like to see. I truly believe weekly newspapers can survive in this ever changing communication world because of our local focus,” Rivet said. “Secondly, I thank our loyal advertisers. We are all struggling to survive in this difficult economy. We have all faced some difficult decisions regarding our operations. While ad revenue has declined, we appreciate all those who continue to believe in our product and continue to support our efforts by advertising within these pages.”

Like Major Shorey, Rivet believes with hard work, commitment and support from the community, “the experiment” will continue to succeed for years to come.

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