Staff Report —
A new company owned by two area men with long careers in journalism has purchased the Eastern Shore Post, ensuring local ownership will continue for the weekly newspaper that has covered Virginia’s Eastern Shore for more than 23 years.
Ted Shockley, the owner and editor of the monthly lifestyle publication Eastern Shore First, and Jim Ritch, a photographer with the Post who served as a newspaper leader in Maryland and Delaware, completed the sale Friday, July 29.
The new company will publish the Eastern Shore Post, Eastern Shore First, and their associated websites. Ritch will hold the position of publisher. Shockley will be editor and general manager and will run day-to-day operations.
“This is a great opportunity to serve the businesses and readers of a very special area with two fine publications,” said Ritch, who lives in Northampton County.
Said Shockley, who lives in Accomack County, “The Eastern Shore has always supported my career in newspapers. I deeply respect the Post’s staff and community standing. This is a great way for me to further serve an area I truly love.”
The Eastern Shore Post, which began in June 1999, had been owned since 2016 by Connie Morrison, who served as editor and general manager, and Ace Seybolt, an area businessman.
Morrison was ready to step away from day-to-day newspaper management but has been hired by the new ownership and will assist with the transition.
Seybolt, who is beginning a two-year term as president of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said he was pleased that local ownership of the Eastern Shore Post will continue.
“My family has lived in Accomack County for 14 generations,” said Seybolt. “I am a businessman who has invested in several local businesses, including the Eastern Shore Post. I believe that successful, locally owned companies best serve our community.
“I am confident through Jim and Ted’s leadership the Eastern Shore Post will continue to reinforce the strength and value to our community of locally owned businesses.”
Ritch was a regional vice president for Independent Newspapers Inc., of Dover, Del., served as editor of the Salisbury News and Advertiser, of Salisbury, Md., and was an editor at The Capital Gazette newspaper, of Annapolis, Md.
He got his start as a reporter with the Watertown Daily Times. Most recently Ritch owned companies that published church directories and did studio photography.
Ritch holds a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Maryland College Park and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colgate University.
Ritch is president of the Cape Charles Rotary Club and is a longtime Rotarian. Ritch and his wife, Gloria, have two adult children.
Shockley is the former executive editor of The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md., and 11 associated weekly newspapers on the Delmarva Peninsula. For a decade he was editor of the twice-weekly Eastern Shore News, where he began as a freelancer in 1990. He started the monthly Eastern Shore First in 2017.
He is a board member of A&N Electric Cooperative and is a former board member of the Eastern Shore Public Library and Eastern Shore Community College, which he attended after graduating from Northampton High School.
Shockley holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Salisbury University. He and his wife, Amy, have two children who both attend Old Dominion University.
Shockley thanked his wife; his father, Bill Shockley, of Cheriton; Ritch, his business partner; and friends for their support.
“Their encouragement and confidence in me means everything,” he said.