As consolidation of newspapers become more commonplace, another reality begins to emerge—a decline in local ownership.
This year has been particularly hard for many longtime newspaper families, with a number of them selling to larger regional chains and corporations. In March, the Randall family announced the sale of the Frederick (Md.) News-Post to Ogden Newspapers, headquartered in West Virginia. The family had owned the paper since 1883. A few months later, the Antelope Valley Press in Palmdale, Calif. was sold to a new entity called Antelope Valley Press Inc., led by Canadian newspaper executive Steven Malkowich. In that case, the paper had been family-owned for more than 100 years. William Markham, former publisher and co-owner of the Valley Press, said in a statement that “now is the time for our family to make way for others with greater resources than ours.” And just last month, the family-owned Morris Publishing Group sold 11 of its daily and non-daily newspaper holdings to GateHouse Media.
Despite these changes, Dirks, Van Essen & Murray recently reported that 82 daily newspapers that have been owned for more than 100 years still remain in business, the majority of which are family-owned.
E&P spoke to a few community newspaper leaders to get their perspective (for some of them, newspapers continue to be a family affair). While undoubtedly operating with fewer resources than a large media corporation, these publications are critically important in today’s world and serve as the backbone for the industry as a whole.