The Times-ÂShamrock Communications alternative weekly division includes Baltimore City Paper, Cleveland Scene, Metro Times, Orlando Weekly, and San Antonio Current.
Don Farley, group publisher of the Times-Shamrock Alternative Newsweekly Group and publisher of Baltimore City Paper, has accepted a promotion as the new Regional General Manager of Times-Shamrock's daily operations.
Erich Burnett has been named editor of the Cleveland Scene. Burnett is a Cleveland native whose background includes 12 years as an editor of Scene and corporate editor for Scene's previous parent companies, New Times and Village Voice Media. Burnett most recently served as senior editor for Village Voice Media. Burnett took over as editor on April 13. The Scene is part of Times-Shamrock Communications.
Chris Keating, who was most recently publisher at the San Antonio Current, has been named the new publisher at Times Shamrock sister paper the Cleveland Scene. Replacing Keating in San Antonio will be Michael Wagner, a former publisher of the Riverfront Times. He will take the title of general manager.
The families that own and operate the Scranton-based company have taken a 10 percent haircut, and other managers in the chain will see their salaries decline by 3 to 5 percent. Co-publisher and CEO Scott Lynett tells AP that the deteriorating economy forced the company to make cuts, which also include employee buyouts at four of its papers in Pennsylvania. Times-Shamrock owns five AAN papers: Baltimore City Paper, Detroit's Metro Times, Orlando Weekly, San Antonio Current and Cleveland's Scene.
Baltimore City Paper, Metro Times, Orlando Weekly and the San Antonio Current are as of today exclusively represented by Ruxton for national print advertising, according to a press release. The papers will join their newly-acquired sister paper, the Cleveland Scene, as part of the advertising network owned and operated by Village Voice Media. VVM chief operating officer Scott Tobias says the discussions about joining Ruxton began while VVM and Times-Shamrock were negotiating the sale of the Scene earlier this year. The addition of the four papers means Ruxton has a print presence in 50 American cities, including all of the top 20 markets, with a total weekly print circulation of more than 3.6 million.
Chris Keating, who was publisher of SF Weekly from 2004-2006, will relocate to San Antonio and take over as the Current's publisher effective Aug. 1, AAN News has learned. He replaces Chris Sexson, who took the publisher spot at the Current's Times-Shamrock sister publication Metro Times in mid-June.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor offers his take on the deal announced last week that will merge the Cleveland Free Times and Cleveland Scene under new owners Times Shamrock. He wonders why "VVM couldn't create a monopoly, [but] another newspaper outfit apparently can." He's referring to when the Justice Department nixed a similar 2002 deal between New Times and Village Voice Media (then two separate companies) that shuttered the Free Times. Justice forced the sale of Free Times to a group of investors, and the paper reopened in May 2003. "I'll leave it to you to speculate on why we couldn't do this deal, but Times Shamrock could," VVM executive editor Andy Van De Voorde says. Redmond says the Justice Department has yet to respond to his request for comment.
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.
Village Voice Media announced today it is selling the Cleveland Scene to Times-Shamrock Communications. Terms of the purchase agreement are not being disclosed; the deal is expected to close on June 25. "We more than achieved our journalistic goals in Cleveland," VVM CEO Jim Larkin says of the paper the company bought in 1998. "This is a staff of remarkably talented and hard-working people. Unfortunately, after ten years, we weren't able to achieve our financial objectives." Times-Shamrock also owns AAN members Baltimore City Paper, Metro Times, the Orlando Weekly, and the San Antonio Current.