2 rival Storm Lake newspapers become one following purchase

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — A 32-year rivalry between two Storm Lake newspapers has ended after the Storm Lake Times Company recently purchased the Pilot-Tribune from Hallmark II Publishing of Charles City.

The terms of the sale, announced Friday, were not disclosed, the Sioux City Journal reported. But it will mean the Times and Pilot-Tribune will be merged into a single, twice-a-week publication called The Storm Lake Times Pilot.

Times co-owner Art Cullen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2017 for his work on water quality issues, will be editor and publisher of the merged publication. His brother, John, will be the president. The newspaper will be published on Wednesdays and Fridays, delivered by mail.

The sale marks the end of a rivalry between the two newspapers that began when John Cullen founded the Times in June 1990, after his offer to buy the Pilot-Tribune from then-owner Edwards Publishing was rebuffed. His brother, Art, moved home to Storm Lake to help.

“The launch of the weekly started a mini-newspaper war that escalated into both The Times and the Pilot-Tribune going to daily publication,” the Times reported, noting the papers later reverted to twice-weekly publication.

More recently, the Storm Lake Times was the subject of an award-winning documentary, called “Storm Lake,” which chronicled the day-to-day life of the publication’s struggles to stay afloat. In a column on Friday, Art Cullen wrote that the documentary prompted billionaire John Tu, co-owner of Kingston Technology in Fountain Valley, California, to made a donation to the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation that helped the Times to survive.