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The Sanpete Messenger

Pyramid closes Sanpete office

This Nov. 29, 1918 issue of the Mt. Pleasant Pyramid has a headline that current residents of Mt. Pleasant might relate to. It talks about the Spanish flu epidemic. The 130-year old paper closed the doors of its Mt. Pleasant offices last week and will now be produced at the Daily Herald offices in Provo. The Pryamid and Herald are both owned by the same national newspaper chain.

 

Pyramid closes Sanpete office

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

11-5-2020

 

MT. PLEASANT—After nearly 130 years, The Pyramid newspaper has closed its offices in Mt. Pleasant.

The newspaper, which is affiliated with the Daily Herald in Provo and owned by Ogden Newspapers, a national newspaper company based in Wheeling, West Virginia, laid off its only employee based in Sanpete County.

“Even though I was only at The Pyramid since February, it was sad to lock the doors for the last time,” Ken Hansen, managing editor of the Pyramid, told the Messenger. “It’s been a staple in Sanpete since 1890. That day, Sanpete lost a little bit of what makes it special.”

Hansen added, “It is really sad to watch any established business shut its doors. As a journalist it’s even harder to watch a 130-year-old newspaper shutter local operation. Yes, the paper will still be published in a more limited capacity, but residents no longer have the ability to walk in and talk to someone to get answers.”

Until last week, the Pyramid content came from Hansen, two unpaid freelance writers and several other contributors. The Pyramid will now be written and designed at the Daily Herald offices in Provo.

Ogden Newspapers plans to merge the newspaper with the Pyramid Shopper and mail a publication to every household in the county, every week. It will have two pages of news. The rest will be advertising. No copies will be sold in stores. All counter-copy racks have been removed.

“These big chains are constantly trying to do journalism on the cheap, and trying to publish a newspaper for Sanpete County out of Provo is just another manifestation of that approach,” said Suzanne Dean, Messenger publisher.

“I want Sanpete County residents to know that we, the Sanpete Messenger and now the Gunnison Valley Gazette, are here for you, locally owned, with a staff of six—four full-time journalists, an ad salesman and an office manager. And we have seven paid part-time writers and photographers.

“Our top priority has always been community service, not profit, and maybe that’s why we’re in the best shape we’ve ever been in financially. We’re looking to expand, not contract.”

Ogden Newspapers, which owns about 40 papers nationwide, purchased The Pyramid along with the  Daily Herald in 2016. About a year later, it also bought the Ogden Standard Examiner, which has the second largest newspaper press in Utah.

Before the Ogden Newspaper purchase, the Pyramid and Herald were owned by Lee Enterprises Inc., another out-of-state newspaper group.

Prior to that, the Pyramid had been owned for decades by Martin Conover, who also owned the Springville Herald. Conover sold the Springville paper to Lee Newspapers in the mid 2000s and insisted on the Pyramid being part of the deal.

The Pyramid was founded on December 6, 1890 by A. B. Williams, who later sold it to J. M. and M. A. Boyden.

In 1912 the paper was published every Friday. At that time, a subscription cost $1.50 per year.

In an editor’s note included in the December 1, 1912 edition, the editor wrote that the newspaper “is enjoying at the present time the most prosperous period of its history.

“And the future looks even better,” the paper said. “With a large and ever-increasing list of subscribers, a good advertising patronage, and the job department crowded with work at the present time, things look good for the next year for The Pyramid. It is duly appreciative, and will do its best, as of yore, to merit a continuance of all the patronage given.”

Hansen and the two other primary Pyramid writers have been invited to being working for the Messenger and Gazette, initially on a freelance basis.