When Holden Landmark, a subsidiary of Cracked Rock Media, purchased the alt-weekly in August, the new owners were "taken off guard by the backlash," the Worcester Business Journal Reports. New publisher Gareth Charter and his boss Kirk Davis say that economics forced them to make deep cuts to their newest property, a move that was heavily criticized. Though some observers have thought of the deal as an odd fit, with Landmark's focus on suburban community papers, Davis says the acquisition makes perfect sense to them. "Worcester is the capital of Central Massachusetts," he says. "We've got a lot of Worcester business in our suburban titles, so it's not like this market was unknown to us." Davis and Charter also say that fears of a "suburbanized" WoMag are unfounded, and point to a recent story to prove that Landmark wants to keep the alt-weekly's edge.
With the exception of one person, the entire editorial staff will no longer have jobs at the paper tomorrow when the sale to Holden Landmark Corp. closes, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. Three non-editorial staffers also will not be offered jobs with the new company, and one full-time position will be made part-time. "As we merge the Holden Landmark Corp. and Worcester Magazine, we are retaining 88 percent of the combined company's employment base," the paper's new publisher Gareth Charter says in a staff memo explaining the changes. Jim Keogh, current editor-in-chief of the Holden Landmark newspaper group, will take the reins as editor of Worcester Magazine, and Doreen Manning will be the paper's arts & entertainment editor. Outgoing editor-in-chief Noah Bombard tells the Telegram & Gazette that while he expected to lose his job as a result of the sale, he was "stunned" by the depth of the changes. "Cuts were expected, but nobody expected them at this level," he says. MORE: Read Bombard's farewell email.
The Holden Landmark Corp. yesterday purchased the alt-weekly from Worcester Publishing Ltd. for an undisclosed sum, according to reports. Landmark owns four community weeklies in Central Massachusetts and a monthly parenting magazine. Owner and publisher Allen Fletcher tells the Worcester Business Journal that he sold the magazine because he had arrived "at a time in my life when I was looking to make a change. It's a personal path I've been on for a few years." He told the Telegram & Gazette that the paper was in good health, with this year seeing a 30 percent increase in revenues over last year. Landmark publisher Gareth Charter says they have "no interest whatsoever in suburbanizing Worcester Magazine," but he hopes it can expand the company's advertising reach, by allowing businesses to target the city as well as individual suburbs where Landmark already has weeklies. The deal is expected to close Aug. 29.
The Phoenix was named "Newspaper of the Year" in the alternative weekly division by the New England Press Association in its 2007 Better Newspaper Contest. "After 40 years, the Boston Phoenix remains a model for alts, bristling with attitude and loaded with coverage of entertainment, culture, politics, and tweaking of the daily press," the judges say. The Boston alt-weekly led the pack of AAN papers represented in the awards with 12 first-place finishes. Boston's Weekly Dig was close behind it's crosstown competitor, grabbing seven first-place awards. The Portland Phoenix and Worcester Magazine each finished first in three categories, while the Hartford Advocate and the Providence Phoenix each took home one first-place award.
At the Worcester's Stars dance benefit for Centro Las Americas held Saturday night, Allen Fletcher won the cha-cha category, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. Fletcher beat out Police Sgt. Miguel Lopez and Worcester County Food Bank executive director Jean McMurray. The benefit, which took its format from the TV show Dancing With The Stars, paired local celebs with dance instructors, and gave the team a few weeks to get ready for the competition.
Michael Warshaw, who was editor for five years, announced yesterday that he's leaving to become editor of Globe West, the Boston Globe's twice-weekly suburban paper, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "He's great," Worcester Magazine publisher Allen Fletcher says. "He's a real pro who knows the city and has been a solid part of our team for a while."
Diane Lieberman, who was most recently publisher of AAN member Worcester Magazine, will manage the online publications HPCwire and GRIDtoday and work on new product development for Tabor, according to a press release. Allen Fletcher, principal owner of Worcester Magazine's parent company, moved back into the publisher's chair earlier this month after the company sold its three business magazines.
Worcester Publishing Ltd. is selling its three business magazines to a new company that will be headed by two of its senior managers, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported last month. The new Worcester Publishing, whose sole publication will be AAN member Worcester Magazine, will also move offices. "I'm just sort of simplifying my life a little bit," says Allen W. Fletcher, principal owner of the company. "This enables me to focus on a single publication." The sale is due to close on March 31, and the financial terms were not disclosed.