As of July 1, the Verona Press is now part of Wisconsin Media Group.

WMG will phase out the branding for Unified Newspaper Group, which publishes the Press, the Oregon Observer, the Fitchburg Star, the Stoughton Courier Hub, the Great Dane shopper, Corre la Voz and Young at Heart magazine.

The sale of the Press, along with its sister publications from UNG, leaves the team gathering news for its weekly, monthly and quarterly publications entirely intact.

The change will have minimal effect on our core news coverage, UNG general manager Jim Ferolie said. He will continue to work with the news and sales teams.

The most significant changes in the upcoming months, Ferolie said, will be with digital sales and the individual websites, where stories and photos will be posted more quickly and frequently. The news team also plans to post additional types of locally generated content.

“Our commitment to publishing engaging content, useful information and meaningful journalism remains as strong as ever,” he said.

Ferolie noted that sometime this summer, online users will be getting a newly designed, much improved user experience.

WMG also will remove the subscriber paywall on individual stories on the websites. E-editions will be available by subscription, and access will be included with the print subscription price.

WMG and its affiliate company, O’Rourke Media Group, bring a fast-growing, full service digital agency to our local markets. The agency serves more than 100 clients in seven states.

WMG general manager Joe Mathes will spearhead the company’s efforts to introduce a wide range of digital marketing options to help local advertisers grow their business and reach new audiences.

Mathes has been on the cutting edge of digital marketing and advertising for more than a decade. He also worked with UNG in 2007 to sell its first comprehensive website.

“We’ve had tremendous success for clients with our digital agency solutions,” Mathes said. “The Madison market provides an excellent opportunity to expand those digital marketing services to an entirely new client base.”

Wisconsin Media Group, based in Kiel, also publishes the Tri-County News, the Ripon Commonwealth Press and the Sheboygan Sun and associated websites and social media channels. O’Rourke also has publications and digital media businesses in the Twin Cities area, Vermont, Arizona and New Mexico.

The change in ownership coincides with the consolidation of UNG offices into a single location in Oregon. Many office functions, such as subscription and billing support, will be handled remotely, just as they have been for the past several years under Woodward Communications.

Email Unified Newspaper Group general manager Jim Ferolie at jim.ferolie@wcinet.com.

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