Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Richmond County Daily Journal Discontinues Sunday Distribution

The Richmond County Daily Journal has gone from six days of publication to five days, effective May 2009. The Sunday edition is no longer available as it has been combined with the Saturday edition to create the Weekender. The Weekender encompasses all the special sections that both papers originally had. Also delivered with the Weekender are the News America "Smart Source" coupons. The Daily Journal now currently prints Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Raleigh News and Observer Changes to 44" web

On Monday, August 17, The News & Observer and its network of nine community papers will convert to a 44" web width. This slightly narrower format is in line with changes taking place with many newspapers throughout the country. Readers in those markets have enjoyed a more convenient size newspaper, and the newsprint savings will help maintain our continued commitment to coverage of local news. All sections of our paper will be based on a six-column format.

San Luis Obispo Tribune size change

San Luis Obispo Tribune has moved to a 44” web width

Friday, July 24, 2009

Birmingham Eccentric Lives to Publish Another Day

As we had noted on May 26th, the Birmingham Eccentric was given an extension until July 1st, where it had to meet certain subscriber levels to remain a viable publication in the Observer Eccentric mix. The Birmingham Eccentric failed to meet that goal, but senior management was impressed enough with the efforts and changes, that they have agreed to keep the Birmingham Eccentric alive, with no timetable for further review.

For more details see the article from their own site at HometownLife.com .

Bolivar Commercial to Start a Sunday Distribution and Eliminate Monday Distribution

The Bolivar Commercial, part of Cleveland Newspapers Incorporated, will begin publishing a Sunday edition on August 23rd, and will cease publishing the Monday edition at that same time, per David Laster, Advertising Manager.

The Commercial, a daily publication with roughly 5,700 subscribers, covers communities in Bolivar County, Mississippi, primarily the Cleveland area.

Palestine Herald Press Discontined Monday and Saturday Distribution

The Palestine Herald Press, a daily publication, discontinued its Monday and Saturday distribution, effective June 1st, 2009. The Herald Press has a weekday circulation of approximately 7,500, covering Palestine, Texas and neighboring communities in Anderson, Texas. The publication still delivers Tuesday through Friday, and on Sunday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register to Jointly Publish Supplement Product

By David Colker, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2009

The Times and Orange County Register will together launch a weekly advertising supplement to be distributed in both papers. The supplement, OCSaver/Local Values, will be inserted into the Friday editions of the newspapers that will go to subscribers in Orange County beginning Aug. 28, said representatives of the Los Angeles Times Media Group and Orange County Register Communications on Tuesday.

In addition, the supplement will be distributed in the Register's 25 community newspapers and in The Times' Spanish-language newspaper Hoy Fin de Semana.

In some areas of the county, households that do not subscribe to The Times or Register will receive the supplement by mail."The combined OCSaver/Local Values distribution program will have access to nearly 1 million Orange County households," said Terry Horne, publisher of the Register, in a statement.

Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of The Times, said the venture by the two newspaper companies will be "harnessing the unparalleled reach of our distribution systems."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cox Enterprises to Sell North Carolina Newspapers to Cooke Communications, LLC

ATLANTA, July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Cox Enterprises, Inc. announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to sell three of its North Carolina newspapers - The Daily Reflector (Greenville), Rocky Mount Telegram and The Daily Advance (Elizabeth City) - and ten weekly newspapers in eastern North Carolina to Cooke Communications, LLC, a privately-held family company headed by John Kent Cooke. The transaction is expected to close in the upcoming weeks.

The weekly publications include the Beaufort-Hyde News (Bellhaven), Bertie-Ledger Advance (Windsor), The Chowan Herald (Edenton), Duplin Times (Kenansville), The Enterprise (Williamston), Farmville Enterprise, Perquimans Weekly (Elizabeth City), Standard Laconic (Snow Hill), Times-Leader (Ayden-Grifton) and Weekly Herald (Robersonville).

As announced in 2008, Cox Enterprises continues to market for sale its newspapers in Texas.

Syracuse Post-Standard Discontinues Inserting Preprints on Saturday

The Syracuse Post-Standard has announced it will no longer insert preprints on Saturdays, effective August 1st, 2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009

BANG Eliminates Wednesday Preprints for Several Publications

Effective July 15th, the Bay Area News Group (BANG) will no longer accept preprints in six of their publications. This will leave advertisers with only Thursday, Friday and Sunday as the only options within BANG to run preprints in the paid distribution.

The effected publications are: Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, Fremont Argus, Hayward Daily Review, Tri-Valley Herald and San Mateo County Times.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cox to sell off several newspapers, Val Pak operations

Cox Enterprises Inc. announced Wednesday it plans to sell several newspapers throughout the chain, as well as its direct mail advertising service, Val Pak, to pay down debt.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the company's largest daily newspaper, is not among the papers to be sold.

The largest newspaper for sale is the Austin (Tex.) American-Stateman and affiliated operations, including its Austin360.com Web site. Other papers slated to be sold by Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises are community publications in North Carolina, Texas and Colorado.

Cox Enterprises also will retain major dailies The Palm Beach Post, Dayton Daily News and publications affiliated with each.

Cox papers, including the AJC and the Palm Beach Post, have gone through series of job buyouts and layoffs over the past several years as profits have fallen. Palm Beach announced it would cut 130 jobs from its 300-member newsroom and the AJC announced a restructuring designed to cut 8 percent of its workforce, or more than 150 jobs through buyouts and other voluntary and involuntary measures.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coral Gables Gazette Ceases Publication on August 1st

The Coral Gables Gazette has announced that it will cease publication of its printed edition effective August 1, 2009. The Gazette is a weekly community paper covering the Coral Gables areas of Florida. The paper will continue with its online edition www.cggazette.com.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal Ceases Inserts on Monday

The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal will no longer insert preprints into their Monday publication, effective the end of June 2009, per Maria Kapsak of the Intelligencer Journal.

Starkville Dispatch Launches

The Columbus Dispatch launched a new free daily newspaper the Starkville Dispatch on July 8, 2009.  The Starkville Dispatch will distribute weekdays in rack locations around Starkville and portions of Columbus, MS.  Consumers can subscribe to the Starkville Dispatch for home delivery.

Claremont Eagle Times Closes

The Claremont Eagle Times announced it was closing for business effective Friday July 10th, per publisher Harvey Hill. The Eagle Times is a daily publication covering Claremont, New Hampshire, and the surrounding area, with a paid circulation of approximately 8,200.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

USPS Lowers Rates on high-density flats

USPS high-density decrease approved

Commercial and nonprofit mailers of US Postal Service Standard Mail high-density flats, mail pieces delivered to each address on a delivery route, will enjoy new minimum per-piece prices decreases of 0.1 cent. The decreases kick in on July 19. In addition, mailers will see decreases to the pound price element that match the Standard Mail Saturation rate.

Postal Regulatory Commission approved the rate on July 1, potentially setting a new precedent on how to address a rate decrease in a period of deflation.

The order can be accessed at http://www.prc.gov/ under “docket search” (Docket No R2009-4) or “daily listing” for July 1.

This was the first time under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 that a decrease in postal rates was sought, reflecting a steady decline in the consumer price index over the last few months. One commenter on the price adjustment, identified in the decision as the public representative, contended that the price cap does not apply to price decreases. The US Postal Service supported this position in their statements noting “the legislative history of the PAEA indicates that Congress was concerned about capping the extent to which the Postal Service could increase prices, not decrease prices.

”The PRC responded by suggesting a future rate increase could be larger than it otherwise would be if the cap calculation and unused rate adjustment authority remained unset.

“If the Postal Service continues to exercise its pricing flexibility in a similar manner in the future (small increases or decreases in rates), this rounding problem could become more pernicious,” the PRC decision said.

The PRC has approved the rate adjustment, but also maintained that the new rates will be used as the base rates for the next cap calculation for the Standard Mail class.

Bay State Banner in Boston suspends publication


BOSTON (AP) — An African-American newspaper that covered Boston's busing riots of the 1970s, the fall of black political leaders and the rise of state's first black governor, Deval Patrick, has suspended publication after 44 years and laid off its 12 employees.

Bay State Banner publisher and editor Melvin Miller said Tuesday that financial pressures and a sustained falloff in advertising have forced him to close the weekly newspaper, at least temporarily.

Miller, a 75-year-old Boston attorney who founded the paper in 1965, said he had prepared for a long economic turndown but couldn't risk pouring in more of his own money. When or if the paper reopens depends on any potential new investors, but Miller said he would not actively "go around twisting arms" to convince people.

"When you do something for so long, people think ... that no matter what happens the Banner is going to be there," Miller said. "Now everybody has to be confronted with the idea that it's either people step up and do what they have to do or else the Banner will be gone forever."

The paper most recently had a weekly circulation of 34,000.

Jeffrey Berry, professor of political science at Tufts University, said it would be painful to see the newspaper close for good since it did an exceptional job covering the city's black community.

"It has given voice to a particular community that's been chronically ignored by the local media," Berry said. "If it closes, the city will be losing its lifeblood."

In a statement, Gov. Patrick said the newspaper has a venerable history and is an important contributor to the state's civic life.

"I wish them every kind of encouragement as they work to weather these difficult economic times like so many other companies and media outlets throughout Massachusetts," Patrick said in a statement.

Miller said he believed the newspaper helped "defuse rage" by serving as an outlet during the 1960s as Boston largely escaped the race riots that ravaged other cities. But he said the newspaper also helped augment coverage by other media outlets by adding its own twist.

According to Richard Prince's Journal-isms, an online column that focuses on diversity in media, black-owned weekly newspapers have largely avoided layoffs and bankruptcy filings, unlike mainstream press outlets. A large number of black-owned weekly newspapers are family-owned.

Berry said any decline in the number of ethnic media newspapers will leave a void.

"I have some people who are really geniuses, journalistic geniuses," Miller said. "And I can't suggest to other people to fill that gap. They are not going to be able to do it."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reorganization plan cleared for the Journal Register

Reorg plan cleared for publisher Journal Register

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge in New York has cleared the way for newspaper publisher Journal Register Co. to emerge from Chapter 11 protection.

The plan had won the backing of the vast majority of creditors, despite objections from some quarters, including state officials in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

The company has drawn criticism for its plans to pay executive bonuses following its emergence from bankruptcy. Some creditors also questioned a provision that would arrange a $6.6 million payment from secured lenders to key suppliers, including ink and newsprint providers.

Judge Allan Gropper said in a ruling Tuesday that despite those objections, Journal Register's reorganization plan is consistent with federal bankruptcy law.

Journal Register publishes the New Haven (Conn.) Register and dozens of other newspapers. Like almost all publishers, it has been pummeled by declining advertising revenue as the traditional newspaper business model comes under assault from the Internet.

The company filed for bankruptcy in February, the third in a wave of Chapter 11 filings in the industry that has also claimed The Tribune Co., The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times and the owner of both of Philadelphia's daily newspapers, among others.

The company's bankruptcy plan was essentially "prepackaged," having been negotiated with major lenders led by JPMorgan prior to its filing. The plan cancels Journal Register's stock and cuts obligations to secured lenders to $225 million from $696 million in return for ownership of the company.

The only significant addition that came during hearings is a $2 million fund set aside for unsecured lenders, who will receive about 9 cents on the dollar.

Unsecured lenders that qualify as critical suppliers, such as ink and newsprint providers, will be made whole with a $6.6 million gift from secured debt holders.

The latter provision drew criticism from Central States, a multi-employer pension fund, which called the plan inequitable. But the company contended any disruption in basic supplies could cripple an already fragile business.

Plans to pay out $1.3 million in bonuses to top executives also led to objections. State officials from Connecticut and Pennsylvania as well as the Newspaper Guild, one of the company's largest unions, asked the court to block the payments.

But in his opinion Tuesday, Judge Gropper said the planned bonuses do not violate bankruptcy code. He noted that debtors had been given the chance to review the bonuses and voted overwhelmingly to approve the bankruptcy plan anyway.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal offered a blistering response and said his office is reviewing the judgement to "determine whether further action is appropriate."

"This decision means that bankruptcy is no bar against bloated big-time bonuses," Blumenthal said in a statement. "The unfortunate bankruptcy court ruling means that (Journal Register) executives will be substantially rewarded more than $1.3 million in blatantly undeserved bonuses for shutting down newspapers and laying off employees."

Last year, deteriorating ad revenue led the company to shutter several weekly newspapers in Connecticut, including the Pictorial Gazette, the Branford Review, Clinton Recorder, Main Street News and the East Haven Advertiser.

Lawyers for the company did not return calls seeking comment on the case Tuesday. It was not immediately clear how quickly Journal Register can emerge from bankruptcy now that its reorganization has been approved.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Muncie Star Press to No Longer Accept Saturday Inserts

The Muncie Star Press, a daily newspaper owned by Gannett, announced that begin August 1, 2009, it will no longer accept preprints for Saturday distribution. The publication distributes seven days a week, but currently does not accept inserts for Mondays.

Harrison Daily Times Changes Distribution Days and Time

The Harrison Daily Times will be changing to a morning distribution, and reducing its distribution days to Tuesday through Saturday, effective July 7th.

The Daily Times had previously distributed all seven days of the week, and had been an evening publication.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Suburban Dallas Community Newspaper Group Shuts Down

Today Newspapers, a cluster of community papers serving Dallas' south suburbs, are folding with their final editions Thursday.

The closure, first reported by John Coleman in The Dallas Morning News, followed a loss of advertising revenue and the inability to find a buyer, said Publisher Kim Petty.

"Everybody was hurt by the economy," Petty told the Morning News. "Most of our advertisers were mom-and-pop type stores, and they just couldn't keep it up. There is just not a lot of hope for small-town newspapers."