Thursday, January 03, 2019

CNHI sold to Retirement Systems of Alabama, its old owner; rural journalism institute director says that's a good thing

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., one of the country's largest owners of community newspapers, announced yesterday that it had been acquired by the Retirement Systems of Alabama; the financial details weren't announced. Both are headquartered in the state capital of Montgomery, because CHNI has been owned by RSA for most of its 20-year history.

CNHI, which has 68 dailes and more than 40 non-dailies in 22 states, became a subsidiary of Raycom Media Inc. in September 2017. In June 2018, Raycom announced the sale of its television stations to Gray Television, which said it did not want to own newspapers and would sell CHNI as a whole or in pieces. RSA is the chief creditor of Raycom and CNHI. The sale to RSA was announced along with the closing of the Raycom sale to Gray.

RSA administers the pension fund for state employees in Alabama, and has made a number of non-traditional investments in golf courses and hotels. "Those who are concerned about accountability journalism and ownership of newspapers in this country should be pleased at this development," said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of The Rural Blog. "CNHI has a history of supporting strong journalism in its communities and providing statehouse news coverage, which has been declining for years in most states."

1 comment:

John M. Wylie II Oologah, OK said...


Would love to hear your thoughts about how RSA will handle its distressed newspapers, one of which in our area was shuttered about a year ago after almost a century and another in my county which is a countywide daily in a county of 93,000 with a circulation that barely hits 3,000--about a third of its circulation when the county had half the population when we came here in 1984. Some CNHI papers are doing well; others are on life support. Will it support the cream and dump the watered-down milk, or will it try to rebuild its weak links in strong markets??

John Wylie