Monday, December 15, 2008

Conn. leaders seek buyers for 2 daily, 11 weekly newspapers that Journal Register Co. plans to shut

Public officials, civic leaders and newspaper staffs in central Connecticut are trying to keep alive two daily and 11 weekly newspapers that the financially troubled Journal Register Co. says it will close next month unless a buyer is found.

State legislators "said they will do whatever they can to save about 100 jobs at the papers," Christopher Keating reported on the Capitol Watch blog of The Hartford Courant. Possibilities include a low-interest loan to the purchaser, or other incentives. "The state's top economic development official, Joan McDonald of the Department of Economic Development, stressed that the state is not interested in owning the newspapers and is not interested in a bailout," Keating reports. McDonald told one of the threatened dailies, the 10,000-circulation New Britain Herald, 10 days ago that she was “guardedly optimistic” buyers can be found.

The other daily is The Bristol Press, circulation 8,500, also in suburban Hartford. Employees of the Press said in a statement, "We shudder to think of Bristol, a city of 60,000, without the Press.'' The rescue efforts expanded to the weeklies when legislators representing their readers also voiced concern. Rep. Linda Schofield of Simsbury told Keating, "Those little papers serve an important community function. It's premature for their owners to ditch them. It's the only source of local news. It's what's going on with the Board of Selectmen or different development projects that are going on in the towns.'' (Read more)

Newspapers can't ask for a government bailout and "keep their status as a free press serving as a watchdog," writes Frank Harris III, chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. "The bailout must come from within. It must come from owners who recognize the newspaper for its journalistic mission, rather than solely as a money-making vehicle for greater profit margins." (Read more)

1 comment:

Steve Collins said...

Just want you to know that NOBODY is asking for a bailout or expecting one. Nobody in state government has any intention to giving one either.
And for what it's worth, even the employees of the papers would oppose any sort of bailout for the company that owns the papers now.
If you want to know more, see my blog at