Nearly a century of family ownership ends in Elko
ELKO, Nev. – Four generations and 90 years of ownership of the Elko Daily Free Press ended on Monday with ownership of the paper being taken over by Liberty Group Publication.
Publishers Rex, Kim and Dan Steninger produced their final edition on Friday.
”Our family has been associated with the Free Press for nearly a century and the decision to sell was not easy. One of the toughest obstacles for us was to find a company that we felt would treat our employees fairly and also carry on the well-established traditions of the Elko Daily Free Press,” the brothers said on Friday.
The Free Press employs more than 60 full time employees and scores of part-time employs, including paperboys and mailroom help.
Under the outgoing administration, Kim Steninger served as business manager, Dan Steninger as the editorial page editor and Rex Steninger as managing editor. All three brothers began working at the paper as printer’s devils while in grade school.
Kim Steninger will remain at the business for an undetermined length of time to help with the transition.
Stan Woody of Tucson, Ariz., has been hired by Liberty as the new took over on Monday. Woody is a second-generation newspaper man who has been publishing community papers for 25 years.
Liberty is headquartered in Northbrook, Ill., and owns more than 300 community newspapers in 16 states.
The Free Press was founded in 1883 by Charles Sproule, who reportedly relocated from Battle Mountain to fight the Democrats that controlled the county.
A group of businessmen purchased the business from Sproule in 1904 and published the paper until 1910, when Eber M. Steninger, the great-grandfather of the current publishers, gained control of the stock and began the family legacy.
He continued as editor for 35 years before selling to his son, Eber B. Steninger, and Chris Sheerin. The paper continued under their ownership, with E.B. Steninger supervising the mechanical side of the business and Sheerin serving as editor, until they retired in 1968.
Next in the line of succession was Mel Steninger and Earl Frantzen, with Steninger filling the role of editor and Frantzen the business manager.
Frantzen retired in 1979 and Mae Steninger stepped in as business manager. They sold the business to their sons in 1992.