Sunday, May 31, 2009

Andover Advocate Journal Closes

The Andover Advocate Journal, a Thursday weekly community newspaper, closed in May 2009. The publication had a paid distribution of approximately 2,000.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lufkin Daily News and Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel Sold

Cox Enterprises Inc. will sell The Lufkin Daily News and The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches, Texas, to Houston-based Southern Newspapers Inc. (source)

Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises did not disclose financial terms, but said the deal should close on May 31.

Cox Enterprises’ other newspapers in Texas and all of Cox’s stand-alone community newspapers in North Carolina and Colorado are still up for sale. Cox Enterprises hired Citigroup and Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to market those papers.

“Cox Enterprises greatly values the contributions that the employees of The Lufkin Daily News and The Daily Sentinel have made to our company,” said Doug Franklin, executive vice president of Cox Newspapers, in a press release. “These local institutions are important to their communities, and we are confident that Southern Newspapers will continue the tradition these newspapers have of providing timely, valuable and trustworthy news and information to their readers.”

Dallas Morning News and Valassis Join Forces in Dallas Market

Valassis / Dallas Morning News Press Release
LIVONIA, Mich. and DALLAS, May 27 -- Valassis (NYSE: VCI - News), one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, and The Dallas Morning News, the flagship subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC - News), today announced a powerful, innovative alliance that changes the way advertisers reach households in the Dallas-Ft. Worth designated market area (DMA).

Through the alliance, The Dallas Morning News will combine its advertising inserts with Valassis' RedPlum(TM) Direct Mail Package, creating a single, shared offering that will reach 1.5 million households weekly in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market. The RedPlum Direct Mail Package consists of good deals on the brands consumers want most from various businesses, which are combined into a single package and delivered to consumers' mailboxes to help them make smart buying decisions by providing them with savings and value. The familiar Have you Seen Me?® Missing Child images and information are featured on the back page. Beginning in August 2009, the RedPlum Direct Mail Package will be delivered to more than 485,000 home delivery recipients of The Dallas Morning News, Al Dia and Briefing, and mailed by Valassis to another 1 million local households.

This alliance is the latest of successful collaborations Valassis has entered into with 31 newspapers across the United States, offering an innovative way to reach out to 8 million U.S. households. Advertisers benefit from the efficiency of the newspapers' delivery channel and the precision of Valassis targeting and reach via direct mail. Consumers benefit from advertising that is delivered by trusted, reliable sources - The Dallas Morning News and Valassis' RedPlum product.

"This deal is a win for advertisers and consumers alike," said William Blackmer, Valassis Senior Vice President, Strategic Sourcing. "Advertisers can leverage the power of newspaper and mail to enhance their message to consumers and can ensure maximum response through both delivery methods. Consumers will receive valuable deals and offers all in one package, which will greatly facilitate planned shopping experiences. We are very pleased to continue building our relationship with The Dallas Morning News in this important market."

"By merging The News' portfolio of print products with Valassis' unique targeting systems, this partnership allows us to offer advertisers throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth marketplace enhanced distribution capabilities," said John McKeon, President and General Manager of The Dallas Morning News. "It also supports our goal of delivering value to consumers by increasing their opportunities to save, one more example of the many ways in which The Dallas Morning News helps people live better here."

Readers of The Dallas Morning News, Al Dia and Briefing will receive their merged RedPlum Direct Mail Package on top of the Wednesday newspaper, ensuring high visibility for the advertising offers, while those who do not receive the newspaper will receive their co-branded Direct Mail Package in their mailboxes on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Birmingham Eccentric - Alive For Now

The Birmingham Eccentric, scheduled to close on May 31st, has been given an extension due to consumer demand per an article on the

If the Birmingham Eccentric can get 3,000 new subscribers by July 1st, it will continue to remain in business, and another 2,000 new subscribers by October 1st, it will continue beyond that point, assuming that profitability goals are met.

Flint Journal, Saginaw News, Bay City Times Reduce to Three Days a Week

Effective June 1st, three Booth Newspapers, the Flint Journal, Saginaw News and the Bay City Times will cease being daily newspapers and will instead only publish on Thursday, Friday and Sundays. There will also be an effort by these publications to increase their local news coverage.

Booth Newspapers had announced March 23rd that these changes were in place, along with the elimination of the print version of the Ann Arbor News.

The remaining Booth Newspapers have no current plan to change their distribution days, instead focusing on restructuring internally to improve profitability.

Friday, May 22, 2009

La Grange Daily News Discontinues Sunday Distribution

The La Grange Daily News discontinued its Sunday distribution, effective May 16th, 2009 per Stacey Moncrief, Ad Director. The Daily News will be printing a 'weekend edition' that is distributed on Saturday evenings.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Attleboro Sun Chronicle Ceases Advisor TMC Publication

The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle has announced it will cease publishing its TMC product the ADvisor effective Saturday, June 27th. Ray Lacaillade, the advertising director, announced this decision was made due to declining revenue of the product along with rising postal rates.

The Sun-Chronicle will still continue to publish its weekly North Attleboro Chronicle and Foxboro Reporter publications which cover some of the homes covered by the ADvisor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MailSouth Acquires Saving Source Direct (SSD)

Cox Enterprises to Sell Saving Source Direct to MailSouth (Press Release)

ATLANTA (May 19, 2009) – Cox Enterprises, Inc. announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to sell Tarboro, N.C.-based Saving Source Direct to MailSouth, headquartered in Helena, Ala. The transaction is expected to close May 26, 2009.

“Cox Enterprises greatly values the contributions that the employees of Saving Source Direct have made to our company,” said Doug Franklin, executive vice president, Cox Newspapers. “More than ever, consumers rely on value-oriented content. MailSouth has twenty years of success and distributes direct mail packages to 17 million households in 26 states.”

Saving Source Direct, formerly known as PAGAS Mailing Services, is the local source for valueoriented content and coupons in more than 100 markets throughout North Carolina. Top markets include Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Asheville, Greenville, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount and Elizabeth City. Each month Saving Source Direct reaches more than three million homes. The company also provides solo mailing services for targeted demographics and customer lists. Prior to the expected sale, Saving Source Direct was managed as part of Cox North Carolina Newspapers, a publishing unit of Cox Media Group, Inc.

Said MailSouth’s CEO Albert Braunfisch, “We’ve enjoyed a long partnership with Saving Source Direct, and for several years, we’ve worked together to the benefit of many shared clients. The addition of the terrific markets they have built throughout North Carolina will push our advertising program over 20 million rural and suburban households, so we’re excited about this opportunity.”

As announced in 2008, Cox Enterprises’ newspapers in Texas, North Carolina and Colorado continue to be marketed for sale. Citigroup has been retained to assist Cox Enterprises with the marketing of these assets.

Arizona's Tucson Citizen won't resume publication

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)

The Tucson Citizen won't be forced to resume publication.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Arizona attorney general's office failed to show that the Citizen's owner, Gannett Co., violated antitrust laws.

The state has contended that closing the Citizen with Saturday's issue is eliminating competition and fostering a monopoly situation for Gannett and Lee Enterprises, publisher of the city's Arizona Daily Star.

The two companies own Tucson Newspapers Inc., which runs the non-editorial functions for both newspapers. They split costs and profits.

The state contends Gannett stopped publishing the Citizen simply to make more money for the partnership.

The state hasn't decided whether to appeal.

Gannett will continue the Citizen as a commentary Web site, without news coverage, and distribute a printed Citizen editorial weekly with the Star.

Tucson Citizen - Decision Likely Today on State Restraining Order

'Tucson Citizen' Was Losing $10,000 a Day, Court Told in Lawsuit Challenging Closing

By Renee Schafer Horton with Mark Fitzgerald

Published: May 18, 2009 8:40 PM ET

CHICAGO The Tucson Citizen was losing $10,000 a day before it was folded last weekend -- money that would be better spent making a "vibrant" Arizona Daily Star, lawyers for Gannett Co. and Lee Enterprises Inc. argued before a federal judge Monday.

Arizona's Office of the Attorney General is asking for a temporary restraining order that would force the chains to operate the Citizen as a print publication or find a buyer who would keep it publishing.

U.S. District Court Judge Raner C. Collins sitting in Tucson said he would rule on the state's motion Tuesday (May 19th) before 2 p.m. local time.

In the hearing Monday, Nancy M. Bonnell, a lawyer for the attorney general's office, argued that by folding the Citizen, but continuing its business partnership with Lee Enterprises, publisher of the Star, Gannett "wants to have its cake and eat it, too."

Gannett and Lee Enterprises operated their papers under a joint operating agreement (JOA) first established in 1940, nearly three decades before the Newspaper Preservation Act was law. When Gannett announced the folding of the print Citizen -- and its replacement by a "modified" online-only operation with little news coverage -- it said it was terminating the JOA but continuing as a partner with Lee in Tucson.

"We understand that a temporary restraining order is an extraordinary remedy," Bonnell told the judge, adding that it was necessary because of the "harm to competition" of having no print Citizen.

The Citizen Web site -- which will rely heavily on blogs and has just two permanent editorial employees from the former newspaper staff of 60 -- does not provide true competition, Bonnell said.

But Don Kaplan, a lawyer representing Lee Enterprises, argued that the Citizen was a "failing paper" that cost the partnership more than it earned. He said the paper was losing $10,000 a day as a print publication. There is a "greater good" in getting rid of a paper that is failing in order to save the more "vibrant" remaining paper, Kaplan said.

Bonnell responded that the Citizen was not a failing paper because there was someone willing to buy it, California publisher Stephen Hadland, whose bid for the paper was rejected. Gannett had been seeking $1 million for the assets of the Citizen, not including its stake in the JOA. Hadland offered $400,000.

"The fact of the matter is, there is no obligation to sell at any price," Kaplan said.

Kaplan and Gordon L. Lang, representing Gannett, also made the argument that their Tucson partnership has always been "one entity," and that therefore there are no competitive issues. They noted that each pays half of the editorial cost of the other's newspaper.

It also emerged at Monday's hearing that the Arizona attorney general's office, the antitrust division of the U.S. Justice Department and the two chains had an understanding that the newspapers would give the Justice Department three day's notice before folding the Citizen. Gannett had announced a May 1 deadline to sell or close the paper, but delayed it on a day-to-day basis while negotiating its sale.

The reason the Arizona authorities filed for its temporary restraining order just hours before the last edition hit the streets Saturday morning -- and minutes before the federal court was closing Friday evening -- was that the state did not get any word of the closing from the Justice Department, Bonnell said. The state attorney general had prepared a lawsuit to block the paper's closing.

Also Monday, the staffing of the Citizen Web site was settled. It will have six temporary employees as it transitions from print, and two permanent employees: former assistant managing editor Mark Evans and Ryn Gargulinski, a general assignment reporter at the newspaper.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tucson Citizen - Conversion Plans to Arizona Daily Star

Depending the outcome of the Tucson Citizen closing, and the temporary injunction requested by the Arizona Attorney General (see yesterday's post), there would be a transition process involved for those inserts already placed and shipped. The following is from an advertising letter from Susan Cantrell, VP of Advertising, of the Tucson Advertising, sent on May 15th, 2009.

Dear Valued Client,

I’m sure you have many questions concerning today’s announcement made by Gannett that The Tucson Citizen will cease publication with tomorrow’s issue on May 16th, 2009. I hope to clarify our current situation with you.

I’m sure that you will want to know what will happen with your rates and what our circulation quantities will be after that time. Our plan is to convert a vast majority of the Citizen subscribers to The Star. Due to the low duplication factor between The Star and The Citizen, we believe this will be likely.

However, due to the fact that we could not contact any of the Citizen subscribers while the newspaper was up for purchase, we were not able to work on that conversion process until now. You should assume that our preprint quantities will remain the same from Monday through Sunday after May 16th. We will be converting all of our Citizen home subscribers to Star subscriptions for the same price starting on Monday, May 18th. We will continue to insert any Citizen preprints into The Star and will publish additional copies of The Star for single copy distribution to all of our racks and dealers to compensate for losses in Citizen single copy sales. We will monitor our sales closely and be able to provide you with new distribution quantity estimates as we receive them.

Regarding retail, national and classified ROP advertising rates, those rates will remain the same after May 16th except that we will not continue to offer the purchase of one newspaper at 90% of the rate. This is because we will have only one newspaper and we intend to convert the former Citizen subscribers to The Star so that our circulation will remain very similar to our current distribution quantities.

We do, however, have quite a few special offers in place from now through the end of the summer as we try to help our advertisers succeed during this rough economic environment. Please ask your account executive for details on these special discounted offers.

Please bear with us as we go through these transitionary times together. We will
let you know additional information as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience and your business.

Again, the outcome of the possible injunction will impact when and if these actions occur.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tucson Citizen - May 16th Closure Temporarily Stopped

Arizona Attorney General Seeks Federal Court Order to Stop Tucson Citizen Closure
By Dale Quinn, Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona

The state Attorney General's Office has filed a federal complaint seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the Tucson Citizen from ceasing publication.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson alleges the paper should not be closed until violations of state and federal antitrust laws are examined, said spokeswoman Anne Hilby.

The announcement comes the day Citizen owner Gannett Co. Inc. announced it would publish its last print edition Saturday while continuing an online edition.

Gannett announced Jan. 16 its plans to sell the Citizen’s Web site, archives and certain other assets or shut down the paper March 20. On March 17, Gannett said it would continue publishing past the March 20 deadline on a day-to-day basis as negotiations with viable buyers continued.

Gannett’s vice president of news, Kate Marymont, said this evening she couldn’t comment on the restraining order or what it means for the paper because she had just heard about the filing, which comes on the heels of an investigation into the sale by the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

The Justice Department conducted a thorough examination into the joint operating agreement between the Citizen and Tucson’s morning newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, said spokeswoman Gina Talamona.

The Justice Department regulates joint operating agreements like the one that binds Tucson’s two daily newspapers. Both papers have independent editorial control but share production, distribution and advertising through a company called Tucson Newspapers.

Under the terms of the JOA, Gannett and Lee split profits from the papers. The JOA would also end Saturday under the terms of Gannett’s announcement, while the two companies continue splitting profits from Tucson Newspapers even though Gannett won’t be producing a paper. But in the sale, Gannett didn’t offer its stake in the JOA. Because of that, newspaper experts said there was little chance a potential buyer would emerge.
But at least one did.

Stephen Hadland, CEO of the Santa Monica Media Co., was interested in purchasing the newspaper. His media group publishes five papers in the Los Angeles area. He said Gannett wanted $1 million for the assets of the Citizen. He offered $400,000, but the Citizen refused to budge below $800,000.

Hadland sent a letter to the Arizona Attorney General’s office Friday requesting it file a temporary restraining order preventing Gannett from closing the Citizen and requiring it to continue printing the paper pending a sale to a qualified buyer.

“The Tucson Citizen has been systematically destroyed by its owners and I believe it remains a viable and popular newspaper in the community,” Hadland wrote in the letter.

For the Citizen to go on as announced by Gannett is a “perversion” of the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970, he said. Hadland also pointed out that Gannett had made publishing a print edition three times a week a requirement of the sale.

Operation and dissolution of JOAs is guided by the Newspaper Preservation Act and regulated by the Justice Department.

Hadland said because the Justice Department failed to take action he turned to the Arizona Attorney General.

The case was assigned to Raner Collins, Hilby said, but the complaint did not include a deadline as to when a hearing should take place.

The complaint says that readers in Pima County have benefitted for more than a century from competition between the Star and the Citizen. Gannett and Lee are violating antitrust laws by closing the Citizen while sharing profits generated by the Star after it becomes the monopoly paper.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gannett Wisconsin East Discontinues Monday Preprints in 6 Newspapers

Gannett Wisconsin East announced that effective May 25th, they would discontinue Monday preprints for six of their publications, due to declining revenue on that day versus increased operating expenses. This will impact the Appleton Post-Crescent, Fond du Lac Reporter, Green Bay Press Gazette, Manitowac Herald Times, Oshkosh Northwestern, and the Sheboygan Press, per John W. Rowe, Group Major and National Director.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hora Hispana Switches to Bi-Weekly Distribution

Effective May 14th, the Hora Hispana, New York, will begin distributing bi-weekly on Thursdays. This means it will not be distributing on Thursday, May 21st.

The Hora Hispana has been a weekly distribution publication. According to Sindy Speelman, the distribution pattern of the Hora Hispana will not be changing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Newport News Daily Press Discontinues Monday & Tuesday Inserts

The Newport News Daily Press, a Tribune Company publication, will no longer distribute inserts on Monday and Tuesdays, per Lourdes Malave, effective May 3rd, 2009. The publication will continue to accept inserts for distribution on Wednesdays through Sundays.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dayton Daily News Alters Home Deliver & Single Copy Buying Options

The Dayton Daily News, owned by Cox Newspapers, will begin on June 1st, 2009 to force advertisters to purchase single copy distribution in zip codes bundled with the home delivered distribution, per Beth Korab, media consultant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ontario Argus Observer Discontinued Monday Distribution

The Ontario Argus Observer discontinued its Monday distribution effective April 1, 2009 per John E. Dillon, Advertising Director. The Argus Observer is part of Wicks Communications, and will continue to publish on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, along with Sunday mornings.

The Argus Observer covers Ontario, Oregon and other communities in Eastern Oregon. The Payette Idaho Independent Enterprise, a sister publication, still remains a weekly Wednesday publication.

Plano Star Courier & McKinney Courier Gazette change Distribution Days

The Plano Star Courier and the McKinney Courier Gazette, both publications under American Community Newspapers, have changed this distribution days. Effective May 5th, 2009, both publications will publish only on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday per Bill Weaver, Group Publisher. The Sunday edition will be the 'weekend edition'.

These changes are due to the restructuring of American Community Newspapers as it goes through its Chapter 11 reorganization.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

East Valley Tribune (Mesa, AZ) - Ceasing Saturday Distribution

The East Valley Tribune will cease distributing its Saturday edition effectivie May 9th, 2009 per advertisting representative Patty Dixie. The East Valley Tribune will continue its Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday editions.