The purchase of San Patricio Publishing Company will include the newspapers San Patricio County News, Portland News and Mathis News.
This makes eight for the Beeville company which also owns the Beeville Bee-Picayune, Goliad Advance-Guard, Karnes Countywide, The Progress (covering Live Oak and McMullen counties) and the Refugio County Press.
Chip Latcham, co-publisher in Beeville, said, “We believe they fit our model of regional newspapers providing hyper local coverage of their communities. Up until now, we’ve added one newspaper at a time to the group, so this brings some additional challenges, but we are blessed to have a great team and are looking forward to ramping up our coverage and products.”
Jeff Latcham, co-publisher, said, “The communities of Taft, Odem, Mathis, Sinton and Portland, no doubt, will wonder how their papers will be changing.
“That’s a good thing. Good community newspapers are owned by the community itself; we’re just fortunate enough to be the caretakers. When readers talk about their ‘hometown newspaper,’ it means something.”
The Latchams, fourth-generation publishers, purchased San Patricio Publishing from James F. “Jim” Tracy Jr. and John Henry Tracy, also brothers.
“Having Chip and Jeff Latcham take over the legacy that my brother and I have continued from our parents and grandparents was a big factor in our decision to sell,” Jim Tracy said. “We feel confident they will serve our readership with honesty and integrity.”
The Tracys and Latchams are families which parallel one another in many ways, which includes many years of friendship that started with their respective parents, according to Jim Tracy.
“Change is always something we, as individuals, have to deal with in life, and this decision to step aside has been in the works for a while,” Jim Tracy said. “It’s time to pass the baton to publishers that are on top of the printing media industry, who are innovative and have a deep concern for the small communities they already serve.”
John Henry Tracy said, “We wanted to entrust our business to people who hold the same values we do.”
Chip Latcham said, “We are grateful to John and James Tracy for entrusting us with these three newspapers. Their family and ours have known each other for years, and we look forward to working with the wonderful people of San Patricio County.”
The Latchams both agree that hometown papers should reflect the communities they serve and be responsive to the readers—something that will continue with these three newspapers.
Chip Latcham said,
“We just want to make sure we report both sides of the story and let the community find its solutions. That approach has guided us through the years and led the South Texas Press Association to honor our late parents by naming the annual community service award after them.”
Becoming part of Beeville Publishing Co. means drastic digital advancements for the readers in San Patricio County.
Jeff Latcham said, “We’ll be adding San Patricio news and content to our regional website, www.mySouTex.com, as well as our Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. We’ll be offering digital subscriptions in the future that will allow subscribers instant delivery by email rather than waiting for the mail each week.
“Among the changes we’ll add immediately, we’ll enhance the classified ads for these papers by putting them online at www.mySouTex.com for more readership at no extra charge.”
History of San Patricio Publishing
The San Patricio County News was originally founded in 1908, with Dave Odem as president, W.E. Haisley as vice-president and Ray L. Carter as editor.
In 1925, the Martin Brothers owned the paper before selling it to John Lloyd Tracy of Robstown and L.R. Ables of Gatesville in April 1937.
One month later, Tracy and his wife, Ruby Garner, bought out Ables’ share of the company. James F. Tracy, Sr., returned from WWII, and entered into the business with his father in 1946.
A year later, James Tracy, Sr. purchased his father’s interest in the paper. He and his wife, Helen, owned and operated the newspaper until 1971, when the family purchased the Portland News, Mathis News, Taft Tribune and Odem-Edroy Times, forming the company San Patricio Publishing Co., Inc.
It was at this time that Tracy’s sons, James F. “Jim”, Jr. and John Henry joined the company’s staff.
The Tracy brothers continued to operate the company, even after James Tracy, Sr. passed away in 1983, becoming the only stockholders in the corporation alongside their mother, Helen Tracy, and officially became the owners of San Patricio Publishing in 2004.