December 22, 2008

Next meeting in Hartford on newspapers' fate will be on Dec. 29

The next session between lawmakers and state development officials is slated to take place next Monday, Dec. 29.
I figured that it would be too hard to find enough warm bodies to pull it off this week.
Meanwhile, we're trying to remain optimistic as the mid-January closure deadline draws ever nearer.
The Journal Register Co. -- owner of The Bristol Press --has said it will close the daily and 12 other Central Connecticut papers by Jan. 16 if they are not sold. There are at least a couple of potential purchasers, but the devil is always in the details, so we can only watch and hope.
The entire process is shrouded in secrecy, of course, because that has always been the JRC way.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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Bob Jelenic said...


What is it exactly that a buyer is getting from JRC? Think about it. The only real thing of value that a buyer is getting is a name: The Bristol Press. The rest of what is for sale is either not worth buying or can be had without JRC's involvement.

What I mean is, why does someone need to buy The Bristol Press from JRC in order to run a daily newspaper in Bristol? I'm starting to think it would be cheaper and a wiser investment for a group to start a fresh newspaper instead of dumping a small fortune into JRC's poor presses, outdated equipment, etc. Buying modern technology and equipment has to be cheaper than trying to upgrade JRC's awful materials. Renting or buying a more efficient building could be done without JRC. Hiring employees could be done without JRC. Finding vendors could be done without JRC. Getting advertisers and customers could be done without JRC.

Maybe a real role for local leaders to play in this should be to convince JRC to allow the community to keep all of the archives of The Bristol Press for the use of the community. That's really the only thing that couldn't be replaced without JRC's assistance.

If there are people who want to operate a daily newspaper in Bristol, they can do it without JRC.

Steve Collins said...

Reasonable questions...
The Bristol Historical Society and the public library have asked, or soon will ask, for the paper to give or loan its archives. I hope that will happen. I've been urging them to do since day one because I don't want to see that stuff wind up in a Dumpster.
As for the main point, a buyer would almost certainly not want our building. They could have an office in town for much less.
They'd be buying the name, which is still worth something despite 14 years of JRC control, as well as the equipment, employees and such. They'd also get the advertising and subscription info, which is valuable, as well as the accounts receivable, I think, which is also worth something.
Personally, I'd rather see the Press continue because of the history involved, the tradition that's worth carrying forward.
But I'm fine with any scenario that keeps a paper operating in Bristol.

Anonymous said...

I'll be sure to miss this.

Anonymous said...

Well, in another cluster some of the papers closed had their offices completely cleaned out. In the dumpster went bound copies, archives, old photos and negatives, etc. It snowed and rained for two days after and the stuff in the dumpsters could not be rescued. This is what happens when employees are told to all go home without any forethought about properly closing down a paper. I think it would have been nicer to let the axed people wind things down. Perhaps it would have been cathartic to prepare the archives for a local historical group or the public library. I know many editors and reporters would have stayed for a few days to do this for their communities.