HCN gets new owners, Coleman named publisher

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The Hill Country News, Cedar Park and Leander’s community newspaper for nearly 50 years, is now managed by Fenice Community Media Group.

Second-generation newspaper executive Brandi Chionsini, formerly CEO of Taylor, Texas based Granite Publications, formed Fenice Community Media Group to manage three community weeklies including the Fort Stockton Pioneer, Madisonville Meteor and the Sealy News, a semi-weekly community paper, the Gonzales Inquirer, and suburban weekly Hill Country News.

All five of the publications to be managed by FCM are long-standing fixtures in their respective communities. Each of the four community newspapers have been continuously published for more than 100 years and the Hill Country News in northwest Austin has published continually since 1968.

“I am excited to be branching out on my own after nearly 19 years with Granite,” Ms. Chionsini said. “I am thankful to my father, Jim, for his guidance and leadership all these years and know that with this knowledge and my own experience, we will be able to make this new venture a success.”

Chionsini, 43, has been in the newspaper business for more than 25 years having worked her way up from a composer to a copy editor, reporter, managing editor, publisher, vice president and eventually to CEO. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in journalism with an emphasis in marketing. She wrote her first story for the Center, Texas, Light & Champion when she was 8 years old and immediately knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

 

She was named Granite’s CEO in April 2014. Prior to that, Ms. Chionsini spent 13 years with Granite as operations support coordinator, vice president and executive vice president. She also had served as publisher at The Sealy News for two years and had stints at The Boerne Star, The Alvin Sun-Advertiser, The Bartlett (Tenn.) Express and Cordova (Tenn.) Beacon and Bryan Eagle.

 

Scott Coleman has been named publisher of the Hill Country News and Chief Operating Officer of Fenice Community Media, which will also be based in Cedar Park.

Coleman, 45, has served as interim publisher at the Cedar Park-based Hill Country News since February and was previously sports editor and then managing editor of the newspaper from 2011 to 2014. He left the Hill Country News to join Granite Publications as Director of Special Projects and served in that role until returning to the Hill Country News in February.

“When I first came to this area nearly 20 years ago, I recognized immediately what a wonderful community it is. Our No. 1 goal is to make sure we publish the news and information on all of our various platforms that the people in Cedar Park and Leander want to read,” Coleman said.

“I’m excited to have Scott on board as publisher,” Chionsini said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, not only about the news business but also about Cedar Park and Leander. Under his leadership, I know HCN is going to accomplish great things.”

Coleman began as a newspaper carrier for his hometown Opelika-Auburn (Alabama) News at eight years of age, returning to that paper while attending Auburn University to work in customer service and then as a circulation district manager. He later served in management roles at the Cordele (Georgia) Dispatch and the Greenwood (Mississippi) Commonwealth before joining Boone Newspapers, where he was circulation director and assisted with group circulation operations based at the Selma (Alabama) Times-Journal. He was later circulation sales and marketing director at the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times and after a break from the industry, Coleman served as editor and publisher of the Coastal Bend Business News in Corpus Christi. Along the way, he covered sports and learned photography, developing a passion for both.

During an 11-year break from the newspaper industry, Coleman joined Texas-based staffing services firm L.K. Jordan & Associates as marketing director and was later named general manager in Austin. In 2004, Coleman left L.K. Jordan to form Focus1 HR Group, a full service human resources outsourcing service firm that grew to employ more than 1,500 people in dozens of locations across Texas before its largest operating division was sold in 2010.

Coleman may be reached at 512-259-4449 or at publisher@hillcountrynews.com.

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