Publisher Matt Fabyan tells the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that his fears of newsroom tension between employees of former competitors Cleveland Free Times and Scene were unfounded. "After the first day, people have jelled really well," he says. The Plain-Dealer runs down some facts about the new paper, which debuted last week after the two papers were merged by new owners Times-Shamrock. The first issue came in at 100 pages, which was up from 72 in Free Times' last issue and 60 in Scene's last one. The new paper's circulation is 60,000, which is 10,000 more than pre-merger circulation totals for each paper, but down from a high of 100,000 a few years ago. Fabyan also tells the P-D that total staff loss was about 10 people. Each paper had about 25 staff members pre-merger, and the new paper comes in around 40, half from the old Free Times and half from the old Scene.

Continue ReadingAfter Inaugural Issue, Cleveland’s Daily Looks at the New Scene

The other shoe has dropped. Times-Shamrock just announced that it is buying Cleveland Free Times as well as the Cleveland Scene, and will merge the two publications into a single paper on July 23. The new paper will be called the Scene, and current Free Times publisher Matt Fabyan will run it. "This is a great addition to our existing group of alternative newsweeklies," says Don Farley, group publisher of Times-Shamrock's stable of alt-weeklies, which now numbers five. "We look forward to serving the greater Cleveland community for many, many years." UPDATE: Fabyan tells the Plain-Dealer that the deal had "been in the works for a while," and Crain's Cleveland Business reports that staffers at each paper are being asked to reapply to the new paper.

Continue ReadingTimes-Shamrock Buys Cleveland Free Times, Cleveland Scene

Former Village Voice Media President Art Howe is now CEO of a holding company formed by the Mead family of Erie, Pa., which owns the daily Erie Times-News, to pursue purchases of alternative newsweeklies. Cleveland Free Times is the first investment the company has made in an alt-weekly. The management team headed by former Free Times Publisher Matt Fabyan "has been made significant partners," Howe said.

Continue ReadingPennsylvania Newspaper Family Invests in Cleveland Free Times