Now in the News: News-Press & Gazette Company To Sell Printing Facility, Regional Newspapers

May 5, 2023

News-Press & Gazette Company To Sell Printing Facility, Regional Newspapers

Family-owned News-Press & Gazette Company announces today that it has agreed, after decades of local ownership, to sell its commercial printing facility located in St. Joseph, Missouri, along with its newspapers located outside of St. Joseph, to the Parsippany, New Jersey-based company, CherryRoad Media. The sale does not include the St. Joseph News-Press and is expected to be finalized no later than June 1.

The News-Press & Gazette Company, owned by members of the Bradley family, has a long history in newspapers, starting with Henry D. Bradley who purchased the St. Joseph News-Press & Gazette in 1951. The company, now in its fourth generation of family leadership, is led by David R. Bradley, Jr. as CEO and Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. “It has been an honor for my family to serve these communities,” said Bradley. “We cherish the friendships we have created with our employees and partnerships with local businesses. It is because of our dedication to our communities and employees that we are so pleased that CherryRoad Media is acquiring our media division. CherryRoad shares our values as well as a deep commitment to the future of community newspapers. It is heartening to know our papers will be in very capable hands.”

CherryRoad Media, a division of parent company CherryRoad Technologies based in Parsippany, New Jersey, currently owns and operates 78 community newspapers in 15 states and has been among the most acquisitionminded companies during the past two years. The company believes the newspaper is an essential resource for developing strong communities, and that it can leverage technology to supplement the printed newspaper with enhanced digital capabilities.

“We’re especially pleased to welcome NPG’s dedicated associates and advertisers to the CherryRoad Media family,” said Jeremy Gulban CherryRoad Media CEO. “We look forward to helping strengthen local journalism through our understanding of technology, which is our goal everywhere we go. These operations, like so many in our industry, have struggled under the weight of disruption and a challenging economy. We are confident these newspapers and the printing operation can be strengthened through technology and made viable for the long run.” “This transaction is bittersweet as our family has been in the newspaper business for over 72 years, however, we felt it was time to pass these amazing publications and employees to a new home,” said David Bradley. “We believe the new owners will continue the important mission of community journalism for years to come.”

North Carolina Press Association Adopts Illinois Public Notice Platform

The challenge of moving local public notices online has been partially solved, at least in a couple of places: The North Carolina Press Association (NCPA) has endorsed the Illinois Press Association’s web platform as its partner for aggregating statewide public notices for North Carolina Newspapers.

Now aggregated in one central location are public notices from local municipalities, county governments, school districts, and other public agencies within the state.

The Illinois Press Association’s web platform features an interface that allows users to search and filter public notices by location, date, and keywords. It also provides notifications and updates on new public notices. “It’s an efficient and effective solution that streamlines the process of accessing public notices, helping to foster transparency and accountability in government operations,” says Phil Lucey, executive director of NCPA.

Don Craven, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association, said the platform is used “by 19 Press Associations and growing.”

Craven adds, “Our platform upholds the principles of a public notice. Notices should be published by an independent third party, should be archivable, should be verifiable, and should be accessible.”

Misleading Subscription Practices Risk Undermining Publishers’ Editorial Credibility

Complicated subscription offers and terms, obfuscated pricing, dark patterns, and convoluted cancellation mechanisms can all help publishers maximize short-term subscription revenue. But as consumers become more familiar with subscription models and their dynamics, the use of aggressive and misleading subscriber acquisition and retention approaches increasingly risks damaging publishers’ editorial credibility.

The risk is particularly pronounced for news publishers, whose subscription offerings are frequently oriented around access to trustworthy reporting, unbiased journalism, and greater accountability to their subscriber bases. It’s perhaps more difficult for audiences to take editorial integrity seriously in instances where they’re presented with billing terms that don’t make mathematical sense, or they’re forced to wait upwards of an hour to speak with a representative to make changes to their subscription plans.

“Journalists talk all the time about building trust with their audiences and ensuring that their coverage is representative. That should extend to business practices as well. In many cases, dealing with their subscription is the only direct interaction [audiences] have with a publication, and as a result, outlets should treat their audience members with respect,” Jun wrote.

Speaking on a recent episode of Toolkits’ Subscription Publishing Show, The Dispatch’s CEO, Steve Hayes said the company has attempted to avoid many of the “tricks” that have become commonplace among subscription publishers in recent years. “One of the things we wanted to do from the beginning was show people we’re honest on the business side the same way we’re honest on the editorial side,” he said.

That mindset informed the publication’s approach to its pricing and marketing, for example, including the decision to charge $10 per month instead of the conventional $9.99. “I love the appeal from a marketing standpoint of telling people ‘Hey, this is how we do business. We’re straightforward. There aren’t tricks, and you don’t have to try to figure out how to get the best price,” Hayes added.

That approach isn’t typically the one subscription optimization experts or technology providers would advise, but as consumer understanding of subscription models and practices becomes more sophisticated, simplicity and clarity could become a powerful differentiator.