Announcements

Akron Beacon Journal sold to GateHouse Media

The Akron Beacon Journal’s owner, Black Press Ltd., recently announced the sale of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Akron Beacon Journal and its Ohio.com website to GateHouse Media, which owns multiple publications in Ohio including The Columbus Dispatch and The Canton Repository. Sound Publishing Holdings Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Black Press Ltd., bought the Beacon Journal in 2006.

“We have provided stewardship of the Beacon Journal for the past 11 years and are extremely proud of the quality of journalism and the role the newspaper plays in the community,” said Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Press. “However, the Beacon Journal is geographically located too far from our other publications for us to provide the kind of leadership the paper needs and community deserves.”

Black Press publishes 100 community publications in British Columbia and Alberta, and 63 daily and community publications in Washington, California and Hawaii. He said that Black Press officials, including owner and chairman David Black, who announced the sale, see the Beacon Journal as a perfect fit for New Media’s growing GateHouse Media Ohio group of publications.

Announcement of the sale comes the week before the Beacon Journal’s 179th anniversary. The first edition of the Summit Beacon appeared on April 15, 1839. It merged with the Akron Evening Journal on June 7, 1897, when the first edition of the Akron Beacon Journal rolled off the presses.

The Akron paper was owned by the Knight family for nearly seven decades starting in 1907, and then the Knight Ridder company beginning in 1974. That company sold the Beacon Journal to McClatchy Co. in 2006, which sold it that same year to Black Press of Surrey, British Columbia.

Legendary publisher John S. Knight, whose father, C.L. Knight, owned the paper before him, maintained an office at the Beacon Journal until June 16, 1981. On that day, John Knight found something in the paper he didn’t like and went to the newsroom to ask, “Who edits this newspaper?” He died later that day.

The Beacon won four Pulitzer Prizes between 1968 and 1994, including one in 1971 for its coverage of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University that resulted in four students being killed by Ohio National Guardsmen.

For more information, visit The Columbus Dispatch.

GateHouse Media partners with Triton Digital to enrich its online properties with on-demand audio

GateHouse Media LLC, one of the largest publishers of locally-based print and online media in the United States, recently announced a partnership with Triton Digital, the global technology and services leader to the digital audio industry. Through this partnership, GateHouse Media will utilize Triton Digital’s programmatic audio advertising marketplace, a2x, as well as its market-leading SSP, Yield-Op, to monetize curated collections of audio clips and podcasts across online properties. The partnership will provide advertisers through Triton’s a2x marketplace with access to GateHouse Media’s 43 million unique online visitors per month.

“Triton Digital’s intuitive technology, knowledgeable team, and unparalleled support makes them the perfect partner to power this innovative digital audio strategy,” said Rob Connelly, Director of Digital Audio at GateHouse Media. “The aggregation of local news, high school sports, division one sports, and political audio coverage into collections will provide our online audience with organized, easy-to-consume content, and advertisers with one-stop access to a highly-engaged, targeted, and community-focused audience.”

“The integration of digital audio into online news stories will undoubtedly provide a rich, unique, and increasingly engaging experience for consumers of that news,” said Stephanie Donovan, SVP, Publisher Development, North America, at Triton Digital. “We are proud to expand our support of GateHouse Media’s digital audio strategy, providing them with the tools and technology they need to seamlessly connect advertisers with this engaged and growing audience.”

In 2017, GateHouse Media reporters from across the country began curating audio content for embedding into its online news stories, including news actualities, recorded interviews, point of view soundbites, and podcasts from its star reporting talent. The infusion of audio content into online new stories has resulted in a more holistic and dynamic experience for local news consumers, and a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach this audience in a native, meaningful way.

ABOUT GATEHOUSE MEDIA LLC
GateHouse Media, headquartered in Pittsford, New York, is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc., which is focused primarily on investing in a high-quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets and on growing existing advertising and digital marketing businesses. GateHouse Media is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by its 142 daily publications. As of December 31, 2017, GateHouse operates in 565 markets across 38 states. GateHouse Media’s portfolio of products includes over 600 business and community publications and over 560 websites, serves approximately 215,000 business advertising accounts, and reaches 22 million people on a weekly basis. For more information regarding GateHouse Media, please visit www.gatehousemedia.com.

ABOUT TRITON DIGITAL
Triton Digital is the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry. Operating in more than 40 countries, Triton Digital provides innovative technology that enables broadcasters, podcasters, and online music services to build their audience, maximize their revenue, and streamline their day-to-day operations. In addition, Triton Digital powers the global online audio industry with Webcast Metrics, the leading online audio measurement service that makes it easy for advertisers and brands to determine the best destination and time to reach their target audiences. Through unparalleled integrity, excellence, teamwork, and accountability, Triton Digital remains committed to connecting audio, audience, and advertisers to continuously fuel the growth of the global online industry. For more information, visit www.TritonDigital.com.

GateHouse Media announces agreement to acquire The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach Daily News for $49.25 million

GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, recently announced that it has agreed to acquire The Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News, in addition to several niche publications and companion websites, from Cox Media Group LLC for $49.25 million.

The Palm Beach Post has been the leading source of local news and advertising in Palm Beach County and southern Martin County for more than 100 years. As the flagship daily newspaper, it has a daily circulation of nearly 80,000 and 102,000 on Sundays. Its sister publication, the Palm Beach Daily News, also known as The Shiny Sheet, has been published for 120 years, having been founded to serve the titans of the Gilded Age, who made Palm Beach the nation’s premier winter-resort destination. The Shiny Sheet is printed daily from October to May and twice weekly during the summer with daily circulation of more than 4,500. Both print publications maintain websites as well as e-editions and news apps for their readers. Across these mediums, more than 44 percent of adults in the market are reached.

“We are pleased to announce our second acquisition from the Cox Media Group which includes their two strong publications that serve Palm Beach and its surrounding area,” said Michael E. Reed, New Media Investment Group President and Chief Executive Officer. “We see Palm Beach as another attractive and growing market thatfits in well with our current Florida footprint. These papers have been the primary source of news in their respective communities for over 100 years and have created high digital engagement that we are excited to work to build upon with our UpCurve product offerings. We are looking forward to welcoming the Palm Beach employees to the New Media team and look forward to carrying on their legacy of strong local journalism.”

The transaction is expected close in the second quarter.

GateHouse Media announces acquisition of tech-enabled video and data business, Online Automotive Solutions

GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, recently announced that it has acquired substantially all the assets of Online Automotive Solutions, a tech-enabled video, data and auto-focused inventory solutions provider, for $4 million. This acquisition expands the digital marketing services that UpCurve, GateHouse’s small business solutions provider, offers through its Auto vertical.

OAS, led by founder Jeff Urgo, has provided auto-focused marketing services to media companies and auto dealers, including Cars.com, Chicago Tribune Company, Vehix.com and Sun-Sentinel Publishing Company, for more than 10 years. Urgo joins UpCurve as Vice President of Sales for its GateHouse Auto division, effective immediately.

The OAS acquisition further enables GateHouse Auto to expand its offerings to the automotive industry by delivering best-in-class inventory marketing solutions along with its full suite of digital and print advertising products. The OAS platform creates digital video of specific vehicles and syndicates the content to the auto dealer’s website as well as major consumer-facing sites including Autotrader and Cars.com. Through targeted, data-driven campaigns, GateHouse Auto delivers a dealer’s brand and message into more than 80 percent of the moments influencing auto intenders on their journey to find a new vehicle.

“Online Automotive Services is a great addition to the solutions UpCurve’s GateHouse Auto division offers car dealers,” said Peter Newton, UpCurve’s CEO. “This platform is on the leading edge of the market shift away from photos to videos, which is becoming the standard consumer expectation in the auto space. Having Jeff’s vast experience with both automotive and media companies as well as his data-focused approach to inventory management, is very exciting for our company and our customers.”

GateHouse Media announces winners of national scholarship essay competition

GateHouse Media recently announced the six winners of its first-ever Scholarship Essay Competition for high school and undergraduate college students. The Grand Prize winner and three of five runners-up were from Massachusetts, while Texas and New York students were also runner-up winners.

Students were invited to write a 500-word essay on what one of four words — local, community, trusted and impact – means to them. These four words are featured in GateHouse Media’s current branding campaign which highlights the role GateHouse journalists and publications play in their local communities. Nearly 1,000 essays were submitted and the winners were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of GateHouse editors, led by Lisa Glowinski, director of the company’s More Content Now division, and college journalism professors.

The winners are:

Grand Prize Winner ($3,000 scholarship): Theresa Maylott, Littleton, Massachusetts

Runner-Up Winners ($1,000 scholarships):

Victoria Daros, North Salem, New York
Sydney Koo, Newton, Massachusetts
Thomas Snelson, Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Kylee Sutherland, Goldthwaite, Texas
Kasey Zaleski, Avon, Massachusetts

“When we asked students to write about local, community, trusted and impact, themes of our branding campaign, we knew we’d get some very thoughtful essays,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “We were truly overwhelmed by both the quantity and quality of entries submitted. The students’ work speaks volumes about their love and appreciation for their communities.”

“I was encouraged by the quality of these submissions,” said Glowinski. “The entrants all seem to be accomplished, tenacious students who have big plans for the future of our communities. I’m proud to see GateHouse Media supporting creativity and education through this contest.”

GateHouse also ran an essay competition for staff members and their families. The winners of that competition were recently awarded $5,000 in scholarships.

New Media announces agreement to acquire Austin American-Statesman for $47.5 million

New Media Investment Group Inc., one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, announced today that it has agreed to acquire the Austin American-Statesman and its niche publications and companion websites from Cox Media Group, LLC, for $47.5 million.

The Austin American-Statesman has been a trusted, award-winning media presence in Central Texas for more than 140 years. The newspaper has daily circulation of 85,000 and its companion websites average more than 13 million page views per month. It also publishes Austin360, the city’s premiere entertainment source, as well as several weekly niche community publications. Austin is a very attractive market, named the 2017 Best Place to Live in America by U.S. News and World Report, and is home to many major corporations such as Whole Foods, Dell and IBM. In addition, Austin has a thriving technology community. It is also home to several large community institutions, such as the University of Texas, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and, as the state capitol, hosts the Texas state legislature.

“New Media is very excited to add the Austin American-Statesman and its associated publications to our portfolio of local media assets,” said Michael E. Reed, New Media President and Chief Executive Officer. “In addition to being known for its strong and trusted journalism and having high digital engagement, the city of Austin is a very attractive market for our growing business offerings such as UpCurve and GateHouse Live. We look forward to working with Austin employees to further build upon their partnerships and carry on the strong local journalism they do in Austin.”

The transaction will be funded with cash on the balance sheet and will be immediately accretive to free cash flow. New Media expects the transaction to close early in the second quarter.

About New Media Investment Group Inc.

New Media supports small to mid-size communities by providing locally-focused print and digital content to its consumers and premier marketing and technology solutions to its small and medium business partners. The Company is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by our 142 daily publications. As of December 31, 2017, New Media operates in over 565 markets across 38 states reaching over 22 million people on a weekly basis and serves approximately 215,000 business customers.

Herald-Tribune’s Patrick Dorsey named SNPA president

Patrick Dorsey

Patrick Dorsey, regional vice president of GateHouse Media’s Coastal Group and publisher of the Herald-Tribune Media Group in Sarasota, Florida, was recently named president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

Dorsey, who previously served as SNPA’s treasurer, was appointed by the SNPA Executive Committee to succeed Les Simpson and will serve as president until the annual SNPA News Industry Summit in October.

SNPA President-Elect PJ Browning, president and publisher of The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, will remain president-elect and will be nominated to succeed Dorsey at the 2018 annual meeting in Nashville.

For more information, visit the Herald-Tribune.

GateHouse Media launches co-branded content, commerce initiative with Houzz

GateHouse Media recently announced an alliance with Houzz, the biggest platform for home renovation and design, to provide the full, authentic Houzz content, shopping and pro-finder experience across all GateHouse newspaper websites. This is the first time Houzz has partnered with any U.S. publisher to provide readers with a fully co-branded experience that includes the ability to purchase products directly from the publisher’s co-branded websites.

The integration with Houzz is part of GateHouse Media’s strategy to create local home and real estate destination channels within newspapers’ websites. The collaboration, which launched in mid-November 2017 across an initial group of 20 newspaper websites, will bring Houzz’s inspirational home design content and robust shopping experience to GateHouse’s approximately 39 million monthly readers. The full roll-out to all newspaper websites will be complete in early 2018. The Homes channels within each website will also feature local real estate content, homes for sale and recent transaction information, and tools to help prospective buyers and sellers. For realtors and brokers, GateHouse offers a full suite of digital marketing tools through its small business services business, ThriveHive, as well as print and digital advertising opportunities.

“We’re thrilled to provide our readers with the full Houzz content experience,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “And we are truly excited to be the first publisher to deliver a co-branded commerce experience that offers all the great products from the Houzz Shop within the trusted, local environment of our New Media news sites.”

For GateHouse Media, this unique, first-of-its-kind digital partnership adds tremendous value for both consumers and business-to-business customers. To promote the partnership, GateHouse will launch a month-long sweepstakes nationwide Jan.15, with prize offerings that include a $5000 Houzz shopping spree, daily cash prizes and Houzz discount coupons.

For more information, check out The Ledger’s new Homes section.

GateHouse Media investigation: Living in the shadow of wind farms

Wind farms generate clean energy, but living in their shadow has its costs, according to a six-month GateHouse Media investigation.

The report uncovered a litany of complaints and lawsuits from coast to coast. Wind farm developers from some of the biggest energy companies in the world have divided communities and angered residents, some of whom say the giant turbines have ruined their lives.

The turbines create relentless noises, vibrations and shadow flickers, according to some of those living nearby. Developers are accused of operating in secret and using aggressive tactics to obtain land leases. Energy officials call the complaints exaggerated.

The data-rich project was reported by National Data Projects Editor Emily Le Coz and investigative reporting intern Lucille Sherman (a senior journalism student at the University of Missouri). These investigative journalists compiled a list of over 450 families nationwide who spoke before state commissions and in legislative hearings. The reporters also spoke with 70 families and 10 lawmakers, reviewed lawsuits and lease agreements.

What is it like to live near a wind farm? Our project takes you on a journey to understand the lives of those in the shadow. For example, you can experience the flicker created by the turning turbines with our simulation.

See for yourself. Hear from the farmers. Check out the project.

Home Town Cook’n Thanksgiving recipe contest winners announced

GateHouse Media has awarded more than $5,000 in cash and prizes to the winners of its first Home Town Cook’n Thanksgiving recipe contest:

Soups category winner: Ellen Verdugo, Gloucester, Massachusetts, for Mushroom-Chestnut ‘Tres Leches’ Soup with Espresso and Thyme
Vegetable dishes category winner: Jaemuk Jeong, Athens, Georgia, for Kabocha Casserole
Non-turkey entrees category winner: Dianna M. Wara, Washington, Illinois, for Twisted Lime & Cranberry Pork Roast
Cakes and cobblers category winner: Patricia A. Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania, for Blackberry Apple Cobbler with Cinnamon Chip Ice Cream Scone Topping
Grand prize winner: Loanne Chiu, Fort Worth, Texas, for Thanksgiving Aromatic Pumpkin Beef Ribs

Each category winner received a $500 American Express gift card, and the grand prize winner received a culinary experience trip for two to their choice of New Orleans, New York City or Napa Valley.

Twelve finalist recipes – out of more than 1,100 submissions – were prepared and judged Oct. 27 at Columbus State Community College in Ohio. Four members of the school’s culinary program assessed the recipes on taste, visual appeal and creativity, and chose the winners. Winning recipes will be posted at hometowncookn.com after Nov. 20 and a collection of recipes from the contest will be published in GateHouse Media newspapers and on their websites Nov. 22 and 23, Thanksgiving Day.

The contest entry program was provided by Cook’n, a digital recipe organization and sharing tool. Cook’n lets users snag recipes from anywhere online and access them on any device through the Cook’n app. Users can also compile and print cookbooks, get the nutritional value of recipes, create shopping lists and weekly meal plans and more.

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