Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Saying The Right Things In Saving Five Connecticut Newspapers

Now Comes The Hard Part

With word that an angel, in the form of Michael Schroeder (left), has come forward to rescue five Connecticut newspapers slated for extinction by Journal Register is the kind of good news few thought they would ever hear.
After all, you're talking about two small dailies, the Bristol Press and Herald of New Britain, both with circulations under 10,000 and falling, along with three small weeklies.
The Bristol Press story trumpets that Schroeder is president of Central Connecticut Communications. What it doesn't tell you, and what the Journal Register press release on the sale does, is that the company was actually formed for the express purpose of buying the papers.
Schroeder is no media mogul. In fact, he was most recently publisher of BostonNOW, a short-lived free daily.

But he does have other newspaper bona fides as a 15-year veteran of Newsday.
No terms were announced. But it's a pretty good bet JR let them go without extracting from Schroeder and his backers too much in the way of cash, in exchange for relieving JR of debt service, severance obligations and the like.
So far, he's saying the right things, like promising more depth and emphasis on local news and sports.
“I’m not saving the papers — the community is going to save the papers. Readers are going to support it by buying the paper and advertisers are going to support it by realizing it is the voice of their community.”
We'll see about that. None of them were apparently doing a very good job of that, and it's far from a slam dunk they'd be willing to change their ways now that there's a new publisher in town.
And last time I checked, "depth and analysis" costs money. Readers will soon be able to see just how deep Schroeder's pockets really are.
At least give him credit for trying. Considering the alternative that awaited these papers on Jan. 16, it's more than you could have hoped for.

1 comment:

Steve Collins said...

We do have a lot of hope.
But I do want to point out that our current employer is the "Bristol Acquisition Co." and it's managed to hang since 1994. Talk about something that sounds creepy!