- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group that publishes the Kansas newspaper once edited by late journalism icon William Allen White has bought two family-owned newspapers and a weekly in the state.

John Montgomery, Montgomery Communications’ 75-year-old president, said Tuesday he plans to retire and has sold the Junction City Daily Union, Abilene Reflector-Chronicle and the weekly Wamego Smoke Signal to Chris Walker’s White Corp., publisher of the Emporia Gazette.

The financial terms of the deal, which took effect Tuesday, were not disclosed.

Montgomery, a fourth-generation newspaperman in a family that has been in publishing for 134 years, said that he plans to keep a Daily Union office and remain in an advisory capacity and “still be involved to the extent Chris wants me to be.”

“I’m 75, and it’s time to retire,” said Montgomery, a Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame member and the Junction City newspaper’s publisher since 1973. “It was important to me to sell it to a Kansas family with a good, long tradition of history.”

Walker is the great-grandson of Pulitzer Prize-winning Emporia editor William Allen White, who bought the Gazette in 1895.

The Junction City newspaper’s daily circulation is roughly 2,500, slightly higher than the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle’s of 2,300, Montgomery said. The Wamego Smoke Signal, a free weekly, distributes more than 10,000 copies.

The Walker family also publishes the weekly Chase County Leader News, St. Marys Star and Westmoreland Recorder in Kansas, the Left Hand Valley Courier in Colorado’s Boulder County, and various yearly magazine publications.

“John has been an incredible leader in the newspaper industry in Kansas,” Chris Walker said in a story published Tuesday in the Junction City newspaper. “Our thoughts on the industry, what is local news and the role of a newspaper in the community all line up closely.”

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