The Liberty Hill Independent, the newspaper for Liberty Hill, Texas, has announced a change in ownership. After 13 years of ownership by Shelly Wilkison and the Texas Independent News Corp., the publication is being sold to local journalists Rachel Madison and Scott Akanewich. The two have been longtime employees of the current owner and will take over effective July 1, 2023. Wilkison will retire upon the change of ownership.
Madison has been working for The Independent since 2017 as a freelance reporter and currently covers City government and writes feature stories. Akanewich joined the staff in 2019 as Sports Editor and now also covers the education beat. As experienced journalists, both have a strong commitment to the community and are seen as ideal leaders for the future.
The change in ownership was welcomed by Wilkison, who stated that having employees take over the business was the ideal situation. She expressed her confidence in the two journalists as community leaders and looked forward to celebrating their success. Madison shared that the thought of Liberty Hill not having a reliable source of news prompted her to put her hat in the ring when she learned that the newspaper was up for sale.
Wilkison had purchased The Independent in 2010 from Dan Pogue, who had owned the publication with his wife Diane before her death. The Pogues had worked at the newspaper for many years, purchasing it from founder Jim “Linzy” Hudgins, who started it in 1987. Wilkison had also purchased The Leader newspaper in 2017, but took it out of circulation as she believed Liberty Hill was better served by having only one newspaper staffed by professional journalists.
Madison and Akanewich, under their corporation Liberty Hill Independent News & Media LLC, are taking over at a time when the future of the newspaper industry is uncertain. However, they remain committed to continuing The Independent’s legacy of being far more than just a newspaper, staying involved in the community, and cultivating new relationships as the community continues to grow. They intend to be known as the preeminent media source for Liberty Hill that residents can count on.