Cedarville University grad who interned at hometown newspaper now owns it

Bonnie Rutledge shakes hands with the previous owner of the Harrison New-Herald to make her ownership official. Contributed

Combined ShapeCaption
Bonnie Rutledge shakes hands with the previous owner of the Harrison New-Herald to make her ownership official. Contributed

A 2020 Cedarville University graduate who interned at a hometown newspaper now owns it.

Bonnie Rutledge from Jewett, Ohio, interned at the Harrison News-Herald to fulfill a requirement for her professional writing and information design degree, the college announced in a release.

Rutledge said she loved writing for the paper, which is in Cadiz, Ohio, in Harrison County, and even continued to write for them the rest of her undergrad career.

Later that year, she received an offer from the newspaper to buy the company, but declined multiple offers.

ExploreLocal advocates and survivors talk to Springfield students about gun violence

“They were very much pursing me to buy the paper,” she said. “I was in college at the time. I was not ready to think about something like that.”

After graduation, Rutledge became a full-time English teacher to fill an urgent need in her community. After realizing how uneducated her students were about their community, she later decided to buy the paper.

“The newspaper itself was dying. It was rapidly thinning and became somewhat of a joke around town due to chronic typos and other mistakes,” she said. “I wanted to help my community and make sure the paper was in good hands ... I also saw the paper as a viable business model with potential for growth. Newspapers are still alive and can make a difference today.”

ExploreOhio doing ‘well’ in fight against COVID, but people need to plan ahead

As Rutledge continues to teach, she now also works as the owner, graphic designer and publisher at the paper. She has revamped the paper and doubled the content, writers and reach.

“Our subscriptions have increased significantly, we have received great feedback from readers and our staff has almost doubled. We went from an eight-page newspaper to 12 to 14,” Rutledge said.

“Newspapers, to this day, still have influence. They can make or break politicians or small businesses. Reporting fairly matters. I want to give what I can to this paper so that small rural communities, like mine, can thrive,” she added.

About the Author