January 6, 2009

Buyer emerges for Bristol Press

With much relief, I can point you to this story just posted on The Bristol Press website announcing the imminent sale of The Press and the New Britain Herald.
What it means for employees is clear enough. We keep our jobs, for now at least.
What it means for Bristol, though, is that its newspaper will keep coming out as it has for the past 137 years, chronicling our community day in and day out.
It's wonderful news.
Here's part of the story: 
As the new owner [a group headed by Michael Schroeder] settles in, he said he expects few changes to be noticeable over the short term, but expects some change will be inevitable as the papers reemerge to a position of dominance in their communities.
“I’m a big proponent of continuous improvement,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said he expects the areas covered by the papers to stay the same, but with an increased depth and emphasis on local news, sports and community events. His aspiration for the papers is that they regain their place as the newspapers of record in their communities.
“I’m not saving the papers — the community is going to save the papers,” he said. “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.”

Really, that is the key now. Bristol has its paper, but now it must rise to the occasion and save it for future generations.

PS: Here's a Journal Register Co. report on the sale:
Buyer purchases two Connecticut newspapers
HUNTINGTON, N.Y. – Central Connecticut Communications has entered into a letter of intent to purchase the assets of The Bristol Press, The Herald of New Britain and The Sunday Herald Press from Journal Register Company, parent company of the New Haven Register.
The acquisition is expected to close within two weeks.
The sale includes the assets of the papers’ Web sites and of three nearby weeklies: the Wethersfield Post, the Newington Town Crier and the Rocky Hill Post. 
Central Connecticut Communications, a corporation formed to facilitate the sale, is owned by Michael E. Schroeder, most recently publisher of the short-lived free daily BostonNOW and a long-time newspaper and magazine industry executive. He previously held editorial and management positions at Long Island’s Newsday. 
Once the acquisition is finalized, Schroeder will become president, publisher and CEO of the group, and will manage all operations from the newspapers’ offices in New Britain and Bristol. The papers will continue to publish on their current schedule.
“We look forward to building upon the rich history of these properties as local business people,” said Schroeder. “We plan to work with current staff, readers and advertisers to produce papers, Web sites and other media that successfully educate, inform and entertain the communities they serve.”
“We know that the papers will be in good hands under Michael Schroeder’s leadership,” said Scott Wright, Journal Register president. “He came into this situation very recently and demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the business, a willingness to learn about the community, and a positive attitude toward the future of the properties.”
“Journal Register worked hard to find a good home for these papers under very trying circumstances, and insisted on fair treatment of their employees. We appreciate them working with us, along with the efforts of the current publisher, Ed Gunderson, to get us up to speed,” Schroeder said. “We also received substantial support from mayors of both towns, Tim Stewart in New Britain and Art Ward in Bristol.”
The Bristol Press and The Herald of New Britain have been published continuously for over 130 years. They employ a combined staff of over 90 in their two offices, publishing six days each with a combined Sunday paper. 
The acquisition was brokered by Phil Murray of Dirks, Van Essen and Murray of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Other links:

Note: A news conference has been scheduled at the state Capitol for 4 p.m. with the new owner and state officials. I'll post more details later.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


cseguin said...

That is great news! I'm so happy for you and Jackie, for the rest of the Press staff, and for the city as a whole.

Tyler said...

Congratulations to the employees of the Bristol Press and more importantly, to the people of Bristol (and New Britain). This is a great day.

A New Day said...

God Bless and may tomorrow be even better than the excitement that we feel today.

Anonymous said...

Just delaying the inevitable...

Steve Collins said...

In the long, as John Maynard Keynes so eloquently put it, we're all dead.

still believing said...

Steve, Keynes might have stated it eloquently but it has to be great to have the opportunity to experience life, as often as possible, before giving ones self up to death.

Steve Collins said...

Absolutely. Carpe diem!

Offices? said...

It's unclear if the real estate is being purchased or leased or abandoned? Where are the "offices" mentioned in the article going to be exactly?

Anonymous said...

Bristol has its paper, but now it must rise to the occasion and save it for future generations.

I don't think most Bristol esidents give a darn.

Odin said...

Congratulations! But there are reasons why so many Bristol residents canceled or let their subscriptions expire, so I hope Schroeder has a game plan for winning them back.

patti ewen said...

Steve, you deserve great credit for keeping the paper's plight out there...your blogs helped spread the news about The Press locally....and the precarious status of all newsprint nationally.
Let's hope the new owner will receives good community support.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you did a great job getting the word out about this. The JRC would have shut you down in an instant if they could have. Now, the hard work begins. Now is the time for a rebirth of the Press, Herald and the 3 weeklies. Now is the time to rededicate yourselves to local coverage of town news and sports. In the coming weeks, some people will try out these papers for the first time in a long time. It's time to work together instead of against each other (JRC way).

Bob Jelenic said...

Congrats to all employees. I did not expect this to happen. I would say, though, remain cautiously optimistic that this new owner, who does not have a terrific history of success, and his partners will find that they have the funds to operate daily newspapers. Buying was the easy part.

I'm done with this blog now. Goodbye Steve.

Bill Stortz said...

Hopefully the new owners and mangers will seek input from the public and possible subscribers and readers as to what they would like to have in their community paper.

I am confident that the people of Bristol would offer some positive and doable ideas if asked.

In the meantime lets relish what we do have.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy for you, Steve. You stirred things up and it looks like all that work wasn't wasted. I thought it was hopeless. I'm glad you didn't.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance, Jelenic. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. You did a number on Bristol and then you came skulking around here, trashing the place all over again on this blog. Get back to your grave and don't ever return.

capeman.pip.verisignlabs.com said...

Well done Steve. It's good to see the new owner is dedicated to increased emphasis on local news and community events as that coverage had deteriorated rather significantly. There are a number of outstanding community organizations that do great things for the city of Bristol and it's residents but their successes have not been consistently covered in the Press. I have been a loyal subscriber of the Press for over 30years and have been disappointed in not reading more about these. I do look forward to seeing these changes.

Anonymous said...

Steve - do you for see a more condensed version from what we see today...Meaning less national and more State and City with more ads...Kind of what the Step Saver does on a weekly basis?

Concerned Conservative said...


I agree.

Tim Gamache said...

Congratulations Steve! Looks like you,Jackie,Kiernan and Mary received that "last Christmas present" after all.I'm really happy for all of you.You did indeed do a great job keeping this issue in the forefront.I hope all this got Bristolites to give some serious thought to what it would truly be like WITHOUT a daily newspaper in a city of 60K+.That prospect was certainly troubling for me.All of Bristol needs to support the new owner and keep the Press here "to stay" for ANOTHER 137 years.

mediaman said...

Steve and Jackie,

This is good news not only for your family but the rest of the employees of the Press and the city of Bristol.

We need a local daily paper and I'm glad it looks like it worked out.

Let's hope this is an opportunity to bring the Press to the level it can be and gain back the readership that the former owners did such a great job losing.