Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Landmark is now solely a chain of community newspapers

The Batten family's sale of The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, announced yesterday, will have no effect on its chain of more than 50 community newspapers, the president of the Kentucky-based community group told The Rural Blog this morning.

Standing, L-R: Mike Abernathy. president of Landmark Community
Newspapers, and Frank Batten Jr. (Virginian-Pilot photo by The' N. Pham)
Mike Abernathy, president of Landmark Community Newspapers, said the group remains for sale, with other Batten properties, and will eventually sell, but is "not being actively marketed." The papers are weeklies, except The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Ky., and the Citrus County Chronicle in Crystal River, Fla.

The Virginian-Pilot, including its real estate, was bought for $34 million by Tronc, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the Baltimore Sun and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., in the same metropolitan area as Norfolk. In a press release, Landmark Media Enterprises General Counsel Rusty Fridell said, "In order to most effectively continue its important work, The Virginian-Pilot must have the benefit of the resources of a large organization."

Landmark put itself up for sale more than a decade ago, and has sold in pieces. It sold The Weather Channel to NBC Universal for $3.5 billion, and later sold the Greensboro News and Record and The Roanoke Times, to BH Media Group, owned by Warren Buffett. "The Virginian-Pilot is Virginia's largest paper with Sunday circulation of 132,000," notes Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute. "The sale leaves Tronc and BH Media, which also owns the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as the two big local news players in the state."

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