Laura Welborn, publisher of the Batesville Herald-Tribune and the Rushville Republican, made the news official to readers on Friday, May 15.

That morning's editions of the twice-a-week publications would be the final issues of the local newspapers that have served those communities – in some form – for well over a century. According to the Indiana State Library, the Batesville Tribune and Rushville Republican began publishing in the last half of the 19th century; a Rush County paper called the Rushville Whig dated back to 1840.

“The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for businesses,” wrote the publisher. “Many have suffered lost revenue and (we) are no exception. It has forced us to rethink our operations and make some difficult decisions.”

Both newspapers are merging with their sister newspaper, the Greensburg Daily News, beginning with the GDN issue published Tuesday, May 19. Continued coverage of both communities, out of the office in downtown Greensburg, will be incorporated, it was promised.

Current subscribers were to receive a sample edition of the May 19 Daily News, with a special offer to subscribe to the merged paper.

“These are stressful times for you, and for us,” added Welborn. “We thank our subscribers and advertisers for their support over the years, and ask that you continue to embrace our journalism in print and online at the Daily News.”

The first hit during the pandemic was announced by Welborn via a letter to GDN readers on April 7. The Daily News would change from five weekly issues to just three: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (weekend edition). Online readership, the sudden loss of ad revenue, as well as production, newsprint, delivery and labor costs, were all cited as detrimental to community newspaper economics.

Debbie Blank, managing editor at The Herald-Tribune for the past six years, wrote a farewell column to readers in Friday's edition in which she recounted her 25 years of stories and subjects. The retiring Blank told her reading audience that “a new adventure awaits.”

Aaron Kirchoff, longtime managing editor and sports editor at the Rushville Republican, was retained as part of the restructuring, as was Batesville staff writer Diane Raver; the latter may be a more familiar name as far as Franklin County coverage goes. Kevin Green was still listed as the managing editor of the Greensburg Daily News as of May 19.

The trio of papers formerly operated as the Southeastern Indiana division of Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI), a publisher based in Montgomery, Alabama, and financed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

In 2017, CNHI merged with Raycom Media, the partnership operating until June 2018. Gray Television acquired Raycom's television assets, though 130-plus newspapers were essentially for sale for a period of approximately six months. In January 2019, operations reverted to the CNHI model.
On May 6, the Zionsville Times-Sentinel merged with its sister paper, the Lebanon Reporter. CNHI's website now lists 10 publications in the state: Anderson's Herald-Bulletin, the Goshen News, Daily News, News and Tribune (covering Jeffersonville/New Albany), the Kokomo Tribune, Lebanon, the Pharos-Tribune of Logansport, Terre Haute's Tribune Star, the Hendricks County Flyer, and the city of Washington's Times-Herald. The company's largest presence is in Oklahoma.

The shuttering of The Herald-Tribune's office – located in the southwest corner of Franklin County on Huntersville Road – leaves Whitewater Publications/Third Place News as the sole surviving brick and mortar newspaper in Franklin County.

It is uncertain how much coverage of Franklin County the Daily News will undertake with its revised structure. Logistically, the trip to Brookville and back will increase from approximately 42 miles to 90 miles, based on office locations in the cities of Batesville and Greensburg.