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|Founder(s)||William S. Morris Jr.|
|Key people||William S. Morris III, Chairman and CEO
William S. Morris IV (President)
|Products||Radio and Newspaper/Magazine|
Morris Communications, headquartered in Augusta, Georgia, is a privately held media company with diversified holdings that include newspaper and magazine publishing, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution, visitor publications and online services. Newspapers are the foundation and core business of the company owned by the Morris family since 1945. Today, the Georgia-based enterprise reaches across the nation, has holdings in Europe and employs 6,000 people.
Morris operates 36 radio stations in the United States, plus Riviera Radio in Monaco.
Its book division, Globe Pequot Press, is one of the world's leading publishers and distributors of outdoor recreation and leisure titles. Morris also is the publisher of The Milepost, a northwestern American travel guide.
Morris Communications is separate from Morris Multimedia, which was founded by Charles H. Morris, a member of the same family that founded Morris Communications.
Morris Communications was started in 1945, by the Morris family, under the name of Southeastern Newspapers, Inc., which later grew to become Morris Communications Corp. in 1970. However, the company traces its beginnings to a corporate structure dating from the 1800s. Even though its main thrust is newspaper publishing, the company also publishes magazines and specialized publications, books and distribution, radio broadcasting, visitor publications, event marketing, commercial printing and online services.
The Morris family was involved with the Augusta Chronicle, located in the U.S. state of Georgia, in 1929. 26-year-old William S. Morris Jr., father of today's chairman and CEO, became a bookkeeper at the daily newspaper. Today, Morris Communications maintains corporate headquarters only a few blocks from the site of its modest beginnings.
In 1945, Morris and a friend purchased the newspaper. Ten years later, Morris, and his wife Florence, bought the remainder of the outstanding stock, along with the afternoon Augusta Herald. Billy Morris, who delivered newspapers from horseback in his hometown as a boy, joined the company in 1956, a few days before his 22nd birthday, as assistant to the president. He became publisher of the two Augusta newspapers and president of the corporation 10 years later.
With the two Augusta newspapers as its base, the company started its expansion with the purchase of a radio station and a television station in Augusta and two other daily newspapers in Savannah and Athens, Georgia. After purchasing those two, the company expanded to Alaska, followed by Texas, and then Florida. The company acquired its largest-circulation paper, The Florida Times-Union and also another daily, The St. Augustine Record, with the purchase of Florida Publishing Co., located in Jacksonville on Jan. 1, 1983.
In 1985, Morris Communications moved into outdoor advertising with the purchase of Naegele Outdoor Advertising Inc., which was renamed Fairway Outdoor Advertising.
Morris Communication’s largest expansion in numbers of properties occurred in 1995 with the purchase of all outstanding stock of Stauffer Communications, Inc., in Topeka, Kansas. The purchase included daily newspapers, nondaily newspapers, shoppers, television and radio stations and other properties.
Strengthened by this merger, Morris Communications has continued to grow and seek diversity in holdings that further its objective of becoming the pre-eminent source of news, advertising, entertainment and related services in the communities it serves.
Understanding the profit potential in the travel industry and the clear synergy with its existing presence in outdoor recreation markets, Morris purchased Best Read Guide Franchise Corp. in 1997. Morris added the upscale in-room travelers guides Guest Informant and Where® in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Now, the second-largest Morris division is Morris Visitor Publications, which provides advertisers with a targeted vehicle to attract literally trillions of dollars to their businesses.
The company expanded overseas in 1998 with the acquisition of Cadogan Guides, London, England, and created Morris Publications Ltd. UK, a subsidiary of Morris Communications. Later that year Morris purchased London this Week, a visitor publication now named the LONDON PLANNER.
Morris Publishing Group
Morris Publishing Group (MPG) was formed in 2001 and assumed the operations of the newspaper business segment of its parent, Morris Communications Co. The company has a concentrated presence in the Southeast. MPG, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Morris Communications Company LLC and publishes 12 daily, 11 nondaily and numerous free community newspapers in the United States.
MMPG is fully engaged in meeting the industry imperative of building and maintaining circulation in a competitive media climate. The division also is dedicated to greater operational efficiency and economies of scale through Project STAR, a corporate wide strategy for shared services.
The company publishes 12 daily newspapers and a number of nondaily newspapers with a combined circulation in the range of 700,000. They include the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, GA, the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, FL, the Topeka Capital-Journal in Topeka, KS, the Amarillo Globe-News in Amarillo, TX, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in Lubbock, TX, the Athens Banner-Herald in Athens, GA, the Savannah Morning News in Savannah, GA, the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, AK, the Juneau Empire in Juneau, AK.
The company publishes 16 non-daily newspapers. They include Bluffton Today in Bluffton, SC, Bryan County Now in Bryan County, GA, Business in Savannah in Savannah, GA, the Capital City Weekly in Juneau, AK, the Columbia County News in Augusta, GA, Effingham Now in Effingham County, GA, Frenship Today in Lubbock, TX, the Hampton County Guardian in Hampton, SC, Hardeeville Today in Hardeeville, SC, the Homer News in Homer, AK, the Jasper County Sun in Hardeeville, SC, the News and Farmer and Wadley Herald and The Jefferson Reporter in Wadley, GA, North Augusta Today in Augusta, GA, the People-Sentinel in Barnwell, SC, the Pine River Journal in Cass County, MN, and the Sylvania Telephone in Sylvania, GA.
NIIT joint venture
NIIT Technologies on Wednesday July 14, 2011 announced a strategic partnership with Morris Communications, a privately held media company with headquarters in Augusta, Georgia (U.S.). This partnership provides for integrated IT and BPO services to Morris communication for an aggregate amount of $85 million over period years. NIIT Technologies will have the controlling interest in the joint venture.
According to NIIT Technologies President Lalit Dhingra, “this is a strategic transformational deal which enhances our onshore presence to expand its footprint in the US market.” As per the agreement, Morris will transfer to the joint venture its key assets including IT infrastructure, people and application landscape.
With this facility, NIIT will be better able to address growing technology outsourcing business in North America with a near shore facility.
- William S. Morris III, chairman and CEO
- William S. Morris IV, president
- Derek May, executive vice president of newspapers
- Craig S. Mitchell, senior vice president of finance, secretary and treasurer
- Steve K. Stone, senior vice president and chief financial officer of newspapers and shared services
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