Howells announce sale of The Panolian

An agreement has been reached in principle for sale of operating assets and real estate of The Panolian by its owners John and Rupert Howell. The sale is expected to close effective January l, 2018.

The buyer will be Batesville Newsmedia, LLC (BNL), a subsidiary of Boone Newspapers, Inc. (BNI) and Carpenter Newsmedia, LLC (CNL) of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Natchez. BNI and CNL own and manage newspapers, websites and community magazines in similar sized communities in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. Other Mississippi newspapers under BNI management are in Oxford, Brookhaven, Natchez, Picayune, Poplarville, Prentiss and Vicksburg. The companies also own and manage a statewide news website,

Area native and veteran publisher David Magee, who is a BNI vice president and publisher of The Oxford Eagle, is a co-owner of BNL and will lead the newspaper. Magee, who is a 1984 graduate of West Panola Academy in Batesville and the University of Mississippi, cited the common ownership of the Oxford and Batesville newspapers as good for both publications and the communities served.

“We are honored to succeed the Howells and appreciate the strong foundations they put down for this newspaper,” Magee said. “Community newspapers and media remain excellent businesses and vital servants of communities like ours. The close proximity of Batesville and Oxford offers numerous opportunities to better serve readers and advertisers by sharing resources and with the reach of multiple media products for Panola and Lafayette counties. We will see that our obligations are fulfilled to these communities and the Howell Family.”

Due diligence is underway now toward completion of the transaction. Lewis Floyd, SR Associate with W B Grimes represented the seller in this transaction.


  1. Anita Lazenby Westmoreland on December 14, 2017 at 10:50 am

    John Howell—-Very sad to see this, but there comes a time when things must change. You and Rupert cannot work forever. Good to see a Panola County name be a part of the new organization. The Howell name will always be in my mind when I think of the Panolian. I wish both of you and your families the best.

    Anita Lazenby Westmoreland

    • Sonshine Ashcraft on December 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      Well spoken Anita.
      I agree and pray for all moving on a peaceful, joyous and long retirement!

  2. Barin von Foregger on December 14, 2017 at 11:02 am

    The end of an era! The many generations of Howell left such positive marks on my home county. The Panolian may live on, but it can never be the same. Thank you, Howell family, and the many faces of employees who made The Panolian what it is today. Great memories. Good luck in everything you all do.

  3. Vera Davis on December 14, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for the memories

  4. Joy Tippit on December 14, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I am sad.
    I began teaching at Pope School in 1974 and it seems as if I grew up with John and Rupert.
    I am sad.

  5. Dale tutor on December 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Well said Barin! In a way, I always felt like an extended kid/family member of ALL the Howells. Growing up with David, I thought of Mr John and mrs Rosemary as second parents…spent many of nights there and ate tons of meals there. Then low and behold, end up working there for several years. Truly a great time period of growing up!

  6. Doris Hughes-Sutherland on December 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    The Panolian has been a staple in my family and community for as long as I can remember. I live in Camden, MS now, but Sardis is my home town. I’ve counted on the Panolian to keep me updated with deaths, property taxes, community news, etc. I hope I will still be able to continue enjoying the Panolian for many more years to come. Thank you.

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