The deal reminds Nashville Scene writer Matt Pulle of the arrangement Village Voice Media and New Times Media made in October 2002 to each close a paper that competed in a market dominated by the other. That plan threw the Justice Department into a snit. In a surprise move Monday, Gannett traded its only sizable Georgia paper, The Times in Gainesville, to Morris Multimedia in exchange for two small papers in Tennessee. Gannett also acquired two weeklies in Tennessee's Rutherford County. "While the swap of several small newspapers is hardly Comcast buying Disney, it marks the crowning achievement in Gannett's stranglehold of the Middle Tennessee area," Pulle writes.
After three stressful years during which his wife and co-founder passed away and two of his stepchildren were diagnosed with chronic illnesses, Matthew Spaur says he decided to sell because he "no longer (has) the energy to give (the) newspaper the leadership it deserves." Taking over the smaller of Spokane's two alternative weeklies is a partnership led by Paulette Burgess, a former writer for the paper and recent editor of the local city mag.
With the deadline for first-round bids closing next week, CEO David Schneiderman tells the New York Post that VVM, with backing from investment firm and VVM part-owners Weiss, Peck & Greer, may be interested in buying the original city magazine. Now owned by Primedia, the magazine was founded in 1968 by Clay Felker, who also owned and edited The Village Voice (second item).
Sue O’Connell and Jeff Coakley yesterday acquired the largest gay-and-lesbian newspaper in New England and a Boston neighborhood paper, according to Dan Kennedy. Coakley was the Phoenix’s director of classified advertising in the mid ’90s; O'Connell served two tours of duty as the paper's entertainment sales manager before leaving in 1998 to become associate publisher of Bay Windows, a 22,000- circulation publication targeting the region's GLBT community.
A subsidiary of the Erie, Pa. company, formed in March to invest in alternative newspapers and headed by Art Howe, acquires Louisville's alt-weekly only months after its purchase of Cleveland Free Times. Pam Brooks, a longtime Louisville resident and publishing executive, is the new publisher, replacing Blanche Kitchen Brewer, who is retiring. "It was time," explains LEO Executive Editor and co-founder John Yarmuth. "My concern is the best interest of this paper, and it supersedes all personal agendas."
The publisher of alternative weeklies in Chicago and Washington is talking with Todd A. Savage, a former Reader contributor who lives in Amsterdam, about starting an alt-weekly in the Netherlands, Crain's Chicago Business reports. Savage would be editor and publisher. "We hope it happens," Publisher Jane Levine tells Crain's. The Reader views it more as an investment in Savage's publication than the Reader starting its own European publication, Levine tells AAN News. Chicago Reader Inc. also has a stake in Seattle's Index Newspapers, which publishes The Stranger and the Portland Mercury.
The "electronic marketplace" syndication service will offer columns by Village Voice alums Andrew Sarris and Joe Conason, and others from the New York Observer, as well as news analysis from British-based New Internationalist after signing deals with the two publications.
Southland Publishing's David Comden announces that his company successfully bid for the New Times LA assets that were put up for sale in the wake of the consent decree signed by New Times after a Department. of Justice investigation of the paper's closure. According to Comden, Southland, which owns AAN members Pasadena Weekly and Ventura County Reporter as well as applying paper San Diego CityBeat, "plans to open two (Los Angeles) newsweeklies, CityBeat LA and ValleyBeat, by summer."
New York-based Avalon Equity Partners is now the majority owner of both the New York Press and Window Media, which operates a number of gay weeklies, including the New York Blade News and the Washington Blade. Cynthia Cotts of The Village Voice writes that the gay media worries about Avalon's ownership, fearing a private equity company with no gay credentials will undermine the integrity of their product. David W. Unger, co-founder and managing partner of Avalon, insists that neither the Press nor the gay publications will lose their identities simply by being connected through a mutual investor. Unger says the Press should make money "with just a little hands-on management."
"We're relieved the Justice Department has decided to draw a line in the sand in this case," Michael Lacey, executive editor of New Times, sarcastically tells LA business columnist, Daniel Akst. The columnist chides New Times and Village Voice Media for being sanctimonious about the evils of "big-city dailies" but concedes Lacey's point: "If a generation's worth of media consolidation is OK because of new technologies and competition between broadcasters, print outlets, the Internet and so forth, it probably shouldn't be a hanging offense that a couple of unsuccessful weeklies are closing in concert."