Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Urgent: Journal Register's Paton named CEO of GCI partner MediaNews, as two combine management

In a statement, the Journal Register Co. said the following today:

Journal Register announced today the creation of Digital First Media Inc. Digital First Media will manage both Journal Register and MediaNews Group.

John Paton, as the chief executive of Digital First Media, will act as CEO of both Journal Register and MediaNews.

In a separate statement, MediaNews, the nation’s second-largest newspaper company as measured by circulation, announced its appointment of Paton as CEO and the new agreement with Digital First Media.

Paton, a director of Journal Register, has also been appointed to MediaNews' board of directors. Paton and Digital First Media will report to the boards of both MediaNews and Journal Register.

Paton replaces William Dean Singleton at MediaNews. Singleton will remain MediaNews' board chairman, however.

Gannett and MediaNews are partners in the Detroit joint operating agency, which publishes the GCI-owned Detroit Free Press and MediaNews' Detroit News. The two companies are also affiliated in publishing operations in California, Texas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

In recent trading, GCI's shares were up 6.1%, at $10.49. The overall market is up as well, lifting most newspaper publishers' stocks, too.

More consolidation ahead?
Today's deal may signal the start of a wave of further consolidation among major newspaper publishers.

In today's statement, Singleton was quoted saying:

"Media News is intent on continuing its transformation from a print-oriented newspaper company to a locally focused provider of news and information across multiple platforms. At the forefront of our efforts is developing a successful digital strategy. . . . We are delighted to tap into John’s experience as we accelerate further our successful transition to a digital world."

Today's deal wasn't entirely surprising. The Poynter Institute's business blogger Rick Edmonds had predicted Paton would become MediaNews' CEO after hedge fund Alden Global Capital acquired all of Journal Register in July, and earlier acquiring controlling ownership of MediaNews.

Alden Global also is a major investor in GCI.

Earlier: California Newspapers Partnership cuts 120 jobs.


  1. See, this is the problem with the internet ... no copyeditors.

    Jim's headline says "Journal News CEO", but the story says "Journal Register CEO".

  2. 11:30 You are correct, and thank you.

    (I also have to think twice when I'm writing about The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., and The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.)

  3. Lots more consolidation coming and quality dropping. The new big mouths that Paton hired for their online first efforts will remain unleashed until Paton sees how little revenue it brings in for the hedge fund that JR. Of course print is on the skids, but there has to be a controlled shutdown over the next few years to maximize print profits as you lay off people/ruin lives so that your skelator minimum wage staff and crappy coverage match the new online landscape. These job hopping brass at Journal Register will screw this up too and be looking for new jobs in a few months.

    And Dino, you are very ill with MS and can't take your money with you. So people who used to work for you have fallen on hard times forever with low paying jobs. How about giving some of your personal megabucks away to local charities that need help, like food banks?

  4. Interview that News & Tech ran with Paton in early 2011. For one thing, he's not a fan of paywalls.

  5. Paton said in a speech last year that his goal is 50 percent of EBITDA (earnings) from DIGITAL within five years. That's ambitious as hell. He also advocated getting rid of printing plants and distribution systems.

  6. Jim, Paton talks about 880 products in 18 states that serve 57 million Americans each month, with 41 million of those readers being digital. How does that match up with Gannett? Is the new combination now America's biggest newspaper company?

  7. How is "digital" going to compete against YouTube and others like it to come? Go to Billboard and click on any one of the hit songs. Listen to the sound and look at the video quality. If I 'tin TV I would be worried, but print remains print and books remain books.
    Instead of pocketing all these profits, Gannett needed to use that money to leapfrog into segment TV and digital. It didn't and I fear there will be a price paid for that.

  8. Paton is blowing a lot of smoke out of his ear. Believe him as much as you do Big G execs.

  9. Goodbye Detroit News

  10. They have been saying The News will close for the last seven years. Come on. Get some new material.


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