Friday, July 14, 2023

Nonprofit buys 22 newspapers in Maine (NY Times)

As I've pointed out on this blog, nonprofit ownership is the way to preserve independence in journalism.  Here's hoping one of these non-profits liberates oligopolistic GANNETT's newspapers.

Let's hope a nonprofit will liberate GANNETT's failing newspapers from their slough of mediocrity, a direct and proximate result of corpulent hedge fund owners and managers, many of whom are not journalists, but vulture capitalists, preying on the carcasses of our newspapers.

Under prior corporate ownership (Morris Communications), the St. Augustine Record printed hate speech in its reader comments, threatening public executions of public officials.  When I complained, then-Publisher Delinda Fogel asked me, "Do you have a journalism degree?"  "No, I responded, but I was interviewed by the New York Times last week."  

Fun fact: Dull Republican political contributor Delinda Fogel does not have a journalism degree, either.  

GANNETT bean counter and former St. Augustine Record Publisher Delinda Fogel and other shallow non-journalists typify GANNETT's mismanagement mentality, which eschews investigative reporting, omits local news and guts the staff in the newsrooms of our Nation -- 23 newspapers in Florida, including the St. Augustine Record. 

Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from GANNETT and its goofy gooberish mismanagement team, truly a Confederacy of Dunces.

From The New York Times: 

Nonprofit Buys 22 Newspapers in Maine

The National Trust for Local News will take over five of the six daily papers in the state and 17 weeklies.

A 2009 issue of The Portland Press Herald lies on top of an issue of The Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine.
The National Trust for Local News is buying newspapers from Masthead Maine, a private company.Credit...Pat Wellenbach/Associated Press
A 2009 issue of The Portland Press Herald lies on top of an issue of The Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine.

A nonprofit that aims to maintain local ownership for newspapers will buy 22 papers in Maine, including The Portland Press Herald and The Sun Journal of Lewiston.

The National Trust for Local News, a nonprofit that was started in 2021, will buy the papers from Masthead Maine, a private company that owns most of the independent media outlets in the state, including five of its six daily papers. Masthead Maine’s owner, Reade Brower, had signaled this year that he was exploring a sale.

The deal includes the five daily papers and 17 weekly papers, Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, the chief executive of the National Trust for Local News, said on Tuesday.

Ms. Hansen Shapiro said Maine residents had told her organization that there was an opportunity for nonprofit ownership after Bill Nemitz, a longtime Portland Press Herald columnist, asked readers in April to donate to help a nonprofit organization preserve local journalism in the state.“We firmly believe in the power of independent, nonpartisan local journalism to strengthen communities and forge meaningful connections,” Ms. Hansen Shapiro said. “We understand the pivotal role that Masthead Maine and its esteemed publications play in serving the communities of Maine with reliable, high-quality news.”

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of July, she said. She declined to specify the sale price.

In addition to the Portland and Lewiston papers, the sale includes The Kennebec Journal in Augusta, The Morning Sentinel in Waterville and The Times Record in Brunswick. The state’s sixth daily paper, The Bangor Daily News, remains owned by the Bangor Publishing Company.

“This could be the most important moment in the history of Maine journalism,” Steve Greenlee, the executive editor of The Portland Press Herald and The Maine Sunday Telegram, said in an email. “Our news report has always strived to serve the public good, and now our business model will align with that mission.”

Many local newspapers have shut down in the past 20 years, as declining print circulation and slowing advertising revenue hollowed them out. Private equity firms and hedge funds in recent years have snapped up the distressed assets, often cutting the shrinking newsrooms even further. The investment firm Alden Global Capital has become the country’s second-biggest newspaper operator.

AAA A number of nonprofit news organizations have cropped up around the United States in recent years to try to address the crisis in local news and fill a void left by closed newspapers. These include outlets like The Baltimore Banner and Honolulu Civil Beat.

The National Trust for Local News, based in Denver, was started with a goal of preserving local news outlets by helping them find ways to become sustainable. The organization owns 24 local newspapers in Colorado through a collaboration with The Colorado Sun. It has philanthropic funders that include the Gates Family Foundation, the Google News Initiative and the Knight Foundation.

The executive board of the News Guild of Maine, the union representing nearly 200 workers at the papers, said in a statement that it was grateful Mr. Brower had chosen to “pursue a nonprofit business model rather than sell his companies to the bad actors that have decimated news organizations across the country.”

“We see the nonprofit model as one that can better sustain journalism’s dual nature as both a consumer product and a public good,” the board said.

A correction was made on 
July 11, 2023

An earlier version of this article misstated where the National Trust for Local News is based. It is based in Denver, not Lexington, Mass.

When we learn of a mistake, we acknowledge it with a correction. If you spot an error, please let us know at more

Katie Robertson is a media reporter. She previously worked as an editor and reporter at Bloomberg and News Corporation Australia. Email:  More about Katie Robertson

A version of this article appears in print on July 12, 2023, Section B, Page 5 of the New York edition with the headline: Nonprofit Is Set to Buy More Than 20 Papers 


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but it used to smear the lower classes when they got arrested, trash journalism, lying by omission about Florida politicians failures and touting success over the sunrise, amateurish portraits of happenings among the sub-apes. You don't like corporations suddenly taking large portions of market share...yet never mention Publix do you. The phoney employee owned company bit to distract from low wages, donating to stinking right wing political candidates, 20% stock owned by like 10 people (aside from that they aren't even making that much money for Christ sakes it just goes on top of the pile) and don't tell me if they're hiring teens and old people, those people are buying stock in that company and the company is owned by them to any degree. Don't tell me they're worth less than those who do own significant portions of that stock because they go to work just like the pencil pusher in the middle and strategist at the top. Let's get some critical analysis of Florida companies while your at it. There's just as much to be said.

Anonymous said...

Honestly the smaller operations do amateurish silly shit, and publish stupid shit every now and then so that's the downside to them. Then when they get acquired or whatever.. the content might improve.. but bigger American companies are just anti-social entities. Concentrating money and power into as few hands as possible, ignoring people's feedback, paying people shit... this applies to other business as well. Start out small and at some point in time it's really benefitting society. Then when they grow large enough they adopt the American capitalist mentality. Destroy every other similar business in site, suck up every penny ever made regardless of any impact that doesn't effect doing them so, paying as few people as little as possible to accomplish the hoarding, pure fantasy and bullshit presentation, and buy off politicans. The list is endless because our elected leaders make it endless.