An Orchard native became the new owner of the Orchard News this week.
After nearly 18 years of ownership, John and Lucy Ferguson sold the Orchard News to Pitzer Digital LLC of Neligh, which is owned by Wade and Carrie Pitzer. Pitzer Digital has two divisions - a marketing and website development division and a news division.
Carrie is a graduate of Orchard Public School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Midland Lutheran College and oversees the marketing division of Pitzer Digital, along with content and staffing of the news division. Wade is a graduate of Neligh-Oakdale and Northeast Community College. He is the advertising director of the news division of the company. They have two daughters - Shelby, 13, and Isabelle, 8.
“We’re excited to be carrying on the tradition of having a newspaper in Orchard,” said Carrie Pitzer. “I grew up reading the Orchard News, and the previous owner, Janice Mosel, was very instrumental in my becoming a journalist. Lucy Ferguson has done a tremendous job with the publication, and both she and John have been wonderful with helping to make this transition as smooth as possible. They are great assets to the community and to us as the new owners.”
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The Orchard News will continue to have an office at its current location. While Pitzer will serve as publisher, they have yet to name an editor and are accepting applications for the full-time position. The current staff of the Orchard News is assisting during the transition period, as is the staff of the Antelope County News (ACN).
Pitzer said it’s natural for some of the content from the ACN to carry over into the Orchard News, as it reaches so many subscribers in Antelope County. Pitzer said while there will be some changes that take place under the new ownership, but she wants readers to know the content currently found in the Orchard News will remain in the newspaper.
Pitzer called the acquisition of the Orchard News exciting from a community aspect.
“It’s important to us to retain an office in Orchard and to have an editor working in the community. We want this newspaper to not only survive but to thrive,” she said. “And combining resources from our other news sources will only make the publication stronger as it serves Antelope County. It’s an exciting time for not only the community of Orchard, but all of Antelope County.”
Pitzer has nearly 20 years of experience in media, including 18 years in print and 11 in digital. She launched Pitzer Digital, a marketing and media company, in 2013. It expanded from marketing and website development in January 2014 with the launching of the Antelope County News and later the Knox County News, Holt County News and Boone County News.
The Fergusons purchased the Orchard News in 1998 from Val and Janice Mosel. The Orchard News has been published since 1902.
Pitzer said the Orchard News will continue as a legal newspaper for Orchard, Royal, Brunswick, Page, Unified School District #1, Antelope County, NCPPD, etc. while the Antelope County News website will continue serving all of the county and beyond digitally.
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