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News Dispatch, Hays Free Press join forces

The Free Press of Buda, Texas

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In a move to bring better and expanded news coverage to the majority of Hays County Barton Publications has merged with the the owners of the News Dispatch in Dripping Springs and Wimberley.

Dale and Joyce Roberson, who have owned the News Dispatch for 21 years, will continue to work with Barton Publications over the next few years. Dale Roberson, who served as editor and publisher of the News Dispatch, will continue to write feature stories for both the Hays Free Press and the News Dispatch.

Barton Publications, which owns the Hays Free Press and All Around Hays, will add additional staff for the News Dispatch and will move into full media coverage of Dripping Springs and Wimberley with videos and website coverage in addition to its existing newspaper.

A news reporter and advertising director will be assigned directly Dripping Springs and Wimberley. Production services on advertising and video will continue at the Hays Free Press Kyle office.

The News Dispatch opens its new office in Dripping Springs at 800 W. Hwy 290, Building D, Office 300-F in the Arbor Center.

Barton Publications' main headquarters is at 113 W. Center St. in Kyle, with a satellite office at the intersection of Main Street and FM 967 in Buda.

"I think our added presence in Dripping Springs with a full news and advertising staff will be a plus for the citizens and business in both Dripping Springs and Wimberley," Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton said this week. "We plan to work with the Chamber, the schools, area organizations and businesses to find out what is needed in western Hays County."

In addition to newspapers, video and websites, Barton Publications also has branched into niche publications, working with the Kyle and Buda chambers of commerce to produce their visitor guides and city maps.

Special editions, such as Focus on Business, Hays Medical Guide, and various school publications will also be expanded into western Hays County.

Barton Publications, Inc. has been in the newspaper and media business in Hays County since the 1950s, when the immediate past owner, Bob Barton, purchased the newspaper while attending Southwest Texas State after returning from the military. That newspaper, formerly called the Kyle News, was founded by the Harwell family in 1903. The Barton family is only the second owner of that newspaper.

This expansion is the first outright purchase of an existing newspaper by Barton Publications.

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Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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