Less than two weeks before they were to be shut down, The Bristol Press and The Herald of New Britain have been saved by former Long Island Newsday exec Michael Schroeder and an unidentified financial backer. Journal Register Company had put the two Connecticut dailies up for sale in November and had recently announced that their last day to publish would be January 16th – until this deal gave them a new lease on life.
Judging by the news reports in the two newspapers and the Hartford Courant, the state’s largest newspaper, Schroeder was greeted like Santa Claus by the mayors of Bristol and New Britain and by legislators at the state capitol. Schroeder’s new company, Central Connecticut Communications, may be able to tap financing from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, but at this point there is no state money in the deal.
Just how much Central Connecticut is paying for the two dailies and three related weeklies hasn’t been disclosed. It’s not likely to be a very large price tag. The two dailies each have a circulation of about 9,000. No real estate is included and the new owner is considering where to locate the newspaper offices. The actual printing is outsourced.
“We’re going to be a multimedia company,” Schroeder declared in a Bristol Press story. He plans improvements to the print editions and websites and is also looking toward delivery by other devices, such as cell phones. “I don’t think the print version will ever entirely go away,” he added.
RBR/TVBR observation: In our recent predictions for 2009 we said that some daily newspapers would shut down in 2009 after failing to find buyers. Well, not yet. These two are not going to stop the presses after 130 years of operation.