Now in the News: O’Rourke Media Group – launched in 2018 and now owns 31 publications

June 30, 2023

O’Rourke Media Group – launched in 2018 and now owns 31 publications

Today, O’Rourke Media Group has 31 publications in eight states.

“The single biggest driver is our people,” he said. “It sounds cliche, but it’s sincere. It’s real. It’s what’s driving our success.”

One employee who rose through the ranks is Bridget Higdon. After graduating from the University of Vermont Honors College in 2020, she joined the company as a reporter. In 2021, she was promoted to the managing editor of the twice-weekly printed Saint Albans Messenger and three online publications: the Colchester Sun, The Essex Reporter and the Milton Independent. Higdon reports directly to O’Rourke, who she said is always available to communicate and visits multiple times yearly.

The managing editors across the publication also meet monthly for a “meeting of the minds.” She oversees five reporters, and they are planning to add a sixth position to their team. She said O’Rourke is responsive to their resource needs. In addition to adding another reporting position, he supported them in revamping their websites and buying new furniture and camera equipment.

Their numbers show expansive growth since the acquisition, Higdon said. In April 2017, the publications had 284,804 website page views and 35,119 website users. In April 2023, they had 738,548 website page views and 91,442 website users.

Tribune Affiliate Paid $13 Million For Daily Herald Printing Plan

Tribune Publishing affiliate Twenty Lake Holdings paid more than $13 million for the Daily Herald printing plant in Schaumburg, a facility it will need when a planned Chicago casino takes over the site of its current printing plant along the Chicago River.

Tribune Publishing and Daily Herald publisher Paddock Publications announced the deal last month, but didn’t disclose the purchase price. A real estate transfer declaration filed May 24 with the Cook County clerk shows Twenty Lake, an affiliate of Tribune Publishing owner Alden Global Capital, paid a total of $13.3 million for the facility at 1000 Albion Ave.Tribune has agreed to print and distribute the Daily Herald after it takes over the Schaumburg plant.

Last month, Tribune announced a deal with Bally’s to terminate its lease at the Freedom Center printing plant and vacate the facility by July 5, 2024. Bally’s purchased the 30-acre riverfront site for $200 million last year, with plans to redevelop it as a 1-million-square-foot casino and hotel.

Dominic Demarco, an associate at law firm Locke Lord who represented Twenty Lake, declined to comment on the purchase of the Schaumburg plant. Representatives with Paddock did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to the Tribune, the Freedom Center also prints The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and The Wall Street Journal. As the new owner of the Schaumburg plant, Tribune Publishing will continue to print those publications as well as the Daily Herald

Canadians Will No Longer Have Access To News Content On Facebook And Instagram, Meta Says

The social media giant Meta has confirmed that it will end access to news on its social media sites for all Canadian users before Bill C-18, the Online News Act, comes into force. The tech company made the announcement on Thursday, the same day the bill received royal assent. The law will force tech giants like Meta and Google to pay news outlets for posting their journalism on their platforms.

Meta said it will begin to block news for Canadian users over the next few months and that the change will not be immediate.”We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18 … content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada,” Meta said in a media statement.

Now that the bill has received royal assent, the Department of Canadian Heritage will draft regulations specifying the application of the act and provide guidance on implementing it. It should take six months for Bill C-18 to come into force. “A free and independent press is fundamental to our democracy,” Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement. “It levels the playing field by putting the power of big tech in check and ensuring that even our smallest news business can benefit through this regime and receive fair compensation for their work.”

In response to Meta’s announcement that it would be banning news content for Canadian users, Rodriguez said in a different media statement that Meta currently has no obligations under the act and that the federal government will engage in a “regulatory and implementation process” following royal assent of Bill C-18. “If the government can’t stand up for Canadians against tech giants, who will?” Rodriguez said.