Thursday, January 25, 2018

GateHouse Media buys Eugene Register-Guard from family

"After more than 90 years of independent, family ownership," the company that owns The Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon, has been sold to GateHouse Media, the newspaper reports.

GateHouse, part of publicly traded New Media Investment Group, "has bought dozens of newspapers and related media ventures from longtime owners" in the past several years, the Register-Guard notes. "As of September, GateHouse published 130 daily newspapers, more than 640 community publications and over 540 local market websites that reach more than 21 million people each week, the company said. The company has publications in 36 states."

RG Media Chairman Tony Baker listens as GateHouse executive
Jason Taylor addresses employees. (R-G photo by Chris Pietsch)
The local Baker family has owned The Register-Guard since 1927, when Alton Baker Sr. bought The Eugene Guard. He merged it with the Eugene Register in 1930. Tony Baker, Alton Sr.’s grandson and chairman of RG Media Co., told the paper, “We’ve come to the realization that in today’s business environment it’s increasingly difficult for a stand-alone, family-owned daily newspaper to compete successfully and continue to provide products the owners are proud to deliver. Larger media companies have the necessary resources and are better suited to adapt to the fast-changing dynamics of the newspaper industry. We’re confident GateHouse has the experience and expertise that will enable The R-G to transition into the future and continue to serve our market in a professional and responsible manner.”

The newspaper said it has 240 full- and part-time employees, a print circulation of 37,454 and a digital audience of more than 600,000 unique visitors a month. The paper also has a digital-services business that offers website development and digital marketing. It will be GateHouse's largest operation on the West Coast.

In a meeting with employees, Jason Taylor, president of the company's Western division, "said the Eugene market, with the huge presence of the University of Oregon, is strong," the paper reports. Last year, GateHouse bought the Columbia Daily Tribune, in the hometown of the University of Missouri, and this year bought the 11 dailies and 29 weeklies of Morris Communications and the remaining five dailies and 18 weeklies of Dix Communications.

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