Havana Herald sold

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The Herald, a weekly newspaper in Havana, Fla., owned and operated by Nick Bert, has been sold to Mark Pettus, a veteran newspaper publisher from Jacksonville, Fla.

The paid community weekly has served the residents of Havana and Gadsden County, a suburb of Tallahassee, since 1947. It was originally founded as the Havana Herald and the Havana Publishing Company – the commercial printing portion of the operation.

Bert began working as editor of the paper in 1973, having just earned a journalism degree from the University of Florida. He has been at the newspaper ever since. In 1985, Bert bought the Herald newspaper from a local investment group and in 1992 added the Havana Publishing Company, uniting the two again under a new company, Priority News, Inc. The commercial printing side still operates in tandem with the newspaper to this day.

The Herald has occupied several buildings around Havana during its existence. In 1980, it moved to its present location at 103 W. 7th Avenue, which was included in the sale.

The seller was represented by David Slavin, senior associate, W.B. Grimes & Company.

Pettus recently served as publisher at Florida NewsLine, a family of community publications that included Ponte Vedra NewsLine, The CreekLine, Mandarin NewsLine, Southside NewsLine, St. Johns Business Monthly, The Players Journal, Ocean Breeze, San Marco.Life and The Beaches.Life, plus a family of other specialty news publications and digital news outlets. He was executive editor for The Ponte Vedra Recorder and its family of publications, which included glossy magazines, a business newspaper, an alt-monthly and numerous specialty publications, including the official welcome guide for Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and the award-winning The Players Championship Guide.

Prior to that he served as a multi-media reporter and then editor for the Florida Times-Union at its weekly, The St. Johns Sun, covering community news in St. Johns County. Before being recruited to join the Sun, he was editor of the Saint John's Recorder after working as an advertising executive for Clay Today in Orange Park, Fla. He was also publisher of The Picolata Review, a literary magazine where he discovered and debuted the Jamie Ford story "I am Chinese," which Ford later developed into the New York Times best-selling novel "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."

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