Friday, February 08, 2013 By Aaron Brown
Ownership of the Scenic Range News Forum will change hands in a transaction scheduled to close on April 1.
Cynthia and L.L. Johnson have reached an agreement to sell the weekly newspaper to longtime area journalists Beth Bily and Ron Brochu, who also own the BusinessNorth regional business-to-business newspaper.
Bily, of Itasca County, was editor of the Grand Rapids Herald-Review from 2002-2006 and has worked as a freelance writer and editor for several regional newspapers and other publications. She has been co-publisher of BusinessNorth since 2010.
Brochu, of Duluth, was news editor at the Duluth Budgeteer, city editor at the Duluth News Tribune and executive editor of the Superior Daily Telegram before joining Bily as BusinessNorth co-owner.
“We look forward to continuing the community news tradition Cynthia and Lea (LL Johnson) have established along the West Range,” Bily and Brochu said.
Scott Stein will report government and community news. He has been a reporter and editor for area newspapers and magazines for the past 15 years covering business, government and writing features. He's also been a columnist and freelance writing consultant. He currently works at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.
The weekly newspaper’s coverage area stretches from Coleraine/LaPrairie on the west to Keewatin on the east.
"The Scenic," as we like to call it, is a quality small weekly paper which does a good job of compiling the day-to-day news of a coverage area that includes very small towns, mine pits, lakes and forest. While it runs a handful of columnists and an occasional editorial, most of the paper contains local information that is hard to find online.
This is an example of how papers can survive and even thrive by retaining local ownership and keeping low overhead. Beth Bily is a friend and former newspaper colleague and I know she'll take good care of the newspaper run by the Deal family for half a century before the Johnsons (also great folks) ran it.