media

Fain, Howell, Hayes, Chace bidding to buy Projo

May 12th, 2014 at 12:54 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Three local publishing executives and a prominent real-estate investor are among the contenders trying to buy The Providence Journal, WPRI.com has confirmed.

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Providence Journal Sunday circulation drops below 100,000

May 1st, 2014 at 9:55 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_e-editionThe Providence Journal’s Sunday sales have fallen below 100,000 for the first time, new data shows.

The paper’s print circulation was 96,656 on Sundays during the six months ended March 31, down by 12,860 or almost 12% from the same period last year, the Alliance for Audited Media reported Thursday. The advertising-heavy Sunday paper is the most lucrative edition of the week for most publications.

The Journal also sold an average of 72,023 traditional print editions on weekdays between Oct. 1 and March 31, a decrease of 7,221 or 9% since March 2013.

The Journal said its total average circulation on Thursdays was 235,539 when print and digital “branded editions” are added, which would include its free ProjoExpress publication, an increase of almost 5%. The audit group changed its rules in 2011 to count those.

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Good news for Projo as revenue climbs 3% in first quarter

April 30th, 2014 at 1:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_ad_sales_1Q_2014By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Sunshine is finally breaking through the clouds at The Providence Journal.

The Journal’s total revenue was up nearly 3% between Jan. 1 and March 31 compared with the same period in 2013, rising to $21.2 million, parent company A.H. Belo disclosed Wednesday in an SEC filing.

If the trend continues for the rest of the year, it will mark the first time The Journal’s revenue has increased on an annual basis since at least 2005. The newspaper has continued to earn a profit even as revenue plunged 43% over the last eight years.

The Journal was buoyed in the first quarter by a 19% jump in its revenue from the printing and distribution of other newspapers and magazines, which brought in $3.7 million. Circulation revenue also rose 5% to $8.3 million, which the company attributed to a double-digit increase in rates for home delivery.

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Exec: Search for new Projo owner is ‘going very well’

April 29th, 2014 at 5:13 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The effort to try and sell The Providence Journal is moving full speed ahead.

“I’d say we’re midway through the process right now, and I think it’s going very well,” A.H. Belo Chief Financial Officer Alison Engel told investors on a conference call Tuesday.

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• Related: Projo revenue slid 4% in 2013; ad losses hit $96M (March 12)


Projo revenue slid 4% in 2013; advertising losses hit $96M

March 12th, 2014 at 10:08 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo annual revenue 2005 to 2013By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence Journal’s revenue declined at a faster pace in 2013 as continued growth in its contracts for printing and distribution failed to offset falling circulation and another double-digit drop in advertising sales.

The Journal’s revenue totaled $90.1 million in 2013, a Securities & Exchange Commission filing by its parent company A.H. Belo shows. That was a 4% decrease in revenue compared with 2012, more than the prior year’s 1% drop but less than the declines of the five years from 2007 to 2011.

Total Journal revenue has plummeted 46% since 2005, when the newspaper pulled in $165.6 million. A.H. Belo is now in the process of trying to sell the local daily, a process that Chief Financial Officer Alison Engel recently said could be completed by April or May. It’s unclear who the buyer would be.

The Journal remains profitable, according to Engel. Howard Sutton, The Journal’s longtime publisher, and Karen Bordeleau, the paper’s executive editor, did not respond to a request for comment.

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A.H. Belo shares up 30% as company moves to sell Projo

February 24th, 2014 at 12:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence Journal owner A.H. Belo’s stock is on a tear just as the company prepares to sell the local daily.

Shares of Dallas-based A.H. Belo have jumped more than 30% in New York Stock Exchange trading since closing at $8.05 on Feb. 11, a day before the company announced a $16 million annual profit for 2013 and gave an update on its efforts to sell The Journal. The stock was at $10.49 at 11:56 a.m. Monday.

The rising share price has triggered at least 10 stock transactions by A.H. Belo insiders, SEC filings show.

It’s a far cry from the grim days of early 2009, when A.H. Belo stock tanked amid the post-crisis market crash and deep uncertainty in the newspaper industry. The company’s shares fell as low as 68 cents on March 10, 2009, meaning an investor who bought the stock that day and held it would have a 1,442% gain today.

A.H. Belo Chief Financial Officer Alison Engel told investors Feb. 12 that the company would send out sale books to potential Journal buyers this month, and that she expected the process “to wrap up, I would assume, sometime in April or May.” Engel didn’t respond to an email requesting further comment; Journal executive editor Karen Bordeleau declined to comment.

A.H. Belo already sold its third major newspaper – The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. – last year, so selling The Journal would allow the company to narrow its business focus to its flagship Dallas Morning News and associated businesses in its home base of Texas.


Exec: Providence Journal could be sold by April or May

February 17th, 2014 at 1:15 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A.H. Belo is moving ahead with its plan to try and sell The Providence Journal.

“We’ve been working very diligently,” Alison Engel, A.H. Belo’s chief financial officer, told investors last week when asked about where things stand with The Journal. “We really didn’t get started on the process until after year-end for a variety of reasons, including just the holidays and having to complete the 2013 close, etc.”

A.H. Belo, which has owned The Journal since 1997, put the paper up for sale in December as part of an effort to refocus the company on its flagship newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, and its market.

Engel said A.H. Belo executives have “made a lot of progress” in working with Stephens Inc., the investment bank that’s shopping The Journal, to put together a presentation about The Journal’s finances that will be given to potential investors. She said those who’ve expressed interest in buying the paper would likely receive the detailed information by the end of this week.

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Tony Mascaro replacing Schwalb as WPRO program director

January 2nd, 2014 at 11:05 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island’s top news-talk radio station will soon be under new leadership.

Cumulus Media Inc. announced Thursday that Craig Schwalb, program director at WPRO-AM 630 and business-talk station WPRV-AM 790 since July 2012, is leaving Rhode Island to become program director at 77 WABC-AM in New York, a news-talk station that’s putting a new emphasis on local content.

The new program director at WPRO and WPRV will be Tony Mascaro, who began his career in Providence and is currently the operations manager at 77 WABC, a job Mascaro has held since June 2012.

Barbara Haynes, general manager of the Cumulus stations in Providence, said Schwalb was already in New York on Thursday, while Mascaro’s first day at WPRO will be on Friday.

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Watch Newsmakers: Brett Smiley; the future of the Projo

December 8th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Everything you need to know from today’s Projo sale coverage

December 5th, 2013 at 11:08 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

This morning’s coverage of A.H. Belo’s plans to sell The Providence Journal contains a few new nuggets.

First, from Sheryl Jean’s story in A.H. Belo’s own Dallas Morning News (emphasis added):

Jim Moroney, chairman, president and chief executive of A. H. Belo, thinks Providence will attract “several interested parties.”

“The Providence Journal is a powerhouse brand in Rhode Island and will attract a lot of buyers,” he said. “I think you could see some other newspaper companies that have been more acquisitive … and you could see some local people who might be interested in having a stake in the Providence Journal.”

A. H. Belo is not in talks with any potential buyers yet, Moroney said. A. H. Belo plans to separately sell several pieces of property in Providence, including the Journal’s building, he said.

Analyst Barry L. Lucas said the Providence Journal might fetch a higher price than Riverside because it is larger, with better financial performance. Lucas estimates Providence’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be 5 percent to 9 percent of total EBITDA.

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Could Red Sox/Boston Globe owner John Henry buy the Projo?

December 4th, 2013 at 2:52 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The big news in Rhode Island Wednesday is, of course, that A.H. Belo is putting the Projo up for sale.

The decision won’t surprise veteran Journal-watchers, particularly after Belo’s recent move to shed one of its other two papers – The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. – for just $27.3 million. It didn’t make much sense for a Dallas-based company that now owns only two big newspapers to have one of them be in its hometown and the other, much smaller one halfway across the country.

Back in 2010, I published a WPRI.com feature story about how much The Journal might fetch these days. On Wednesday I asked two top media analysts to weigh in about the question now, and here’s what they told me, from my updated WPRI.com story:

“I’m not surprised,” Ken Doctor, a media analyst at the research firm Outsell and the author of “Newsonomics,” told WPRI.com. “It’s clear that A.H. Belo is circling the wagons around its home base, Dallas. The Morning News has outperformed Projo and Riverside and has always been a more dominant player there.” …

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Projo revenue nearly steady; Dallas CEO says it’s ‘not for sale’

December 3rd, 2013 at 1:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_ad_sales_3Q2013The Providence Journal’s advertising sales continued to decline by double-digits this past summer amid industry upheaval, but the impact was largely offset by a growing number of printing and distribution contracts.

The Journal’s ad revenue was down 10% between July 1 and Sept. 30 compared with the same period in 2012, parent company A.H. Belo disclosed in an SEC filing. Quarterly ad sales fell to $9.4 million, a decrease of $1.1 million.

Total third-quarter revenue at The Journal from all sources was down just 1% from 2012, falling to $22.7 million. Circulation revenue fell 0.5% to $8.8 million. Printing and distribution contracts surged 25% to $3.6 million thanks to new distribution contracts for various other papers and magazines obtained in July from a settlement with another distributor.

The Journal’s average weekday circulation fell from 83,733 to 76,447 during the six-month period ended Sept. 30, according to the most recent report by the Alliance for Audited Media. The paper’s Monday-to-Friday circulation has dropped 47% over the last six years as Rhode Island’s economy struggled.

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Projo’s circulation down more than 11% on Sundays this year

October 31st, 2013 at 9:10 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_e-editionThe Providence Journal’s newspaper sales dipped 11.7% on Sundays during the six months ended Sept. 30.

The paper’s Sunday print circulation was 104,010, down 13,774 from the same period last year, the Alliance for Audited Media reported Thursday. Sunday is the most lucrative edition of the week for most papers.

The Journal also sold an average of 76,447 traditional print editions on weekdays between April 1 and Sept. 30, a decrease of 7,286 since September 2012.

The Journal said its total average weekly circulation was 106,605 when “branded editions” are added, which would include its free ProjoExpress publication. The audit group changed its rules in 2011 to count those.

Saturday print circulation fell by 12,034 copies – from 106,775 to 94,741 – as of Sept. 30, the group said.

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The Providence Journal’s parent company just got 13% smaller

October 10th, 2013 at 12:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

And then there were two.

The Providence Journal’s Dallas-based parent company, A.H. Belo, announced Thursday the sale of one of its three newspaper divisions: The Press Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., acquired for $27.3 million (including real estate) by Freedom Communications Holdings, owner of the Orange County Register.

The possibility has been floated for a while by A.H. Belo investors, who’ve noted how many different companies are currently operating in the Southern California newspaper market. Meanwhile, Freedom chief Aaron Kushner has aggressively doubled-down on the print side of the newspaper business at the Register.

The sale leaves A.H. Belo owning only two major newspapers: its flagship Dallas Morning News and The Providence Journal here in Rhode Island. The Journal is a much smaller operation, contributing only 21% of A.H. Belo revenue during the first half of 2013; Dallas provided 66% and Riverside 13%. Here’s a chart:

AH_Belo_revenue_1H2013

There was no mention of The Journal in A.H. Belo’s press release about the sale, though A.H. Belo CEO Jim Moroney said the company would use the $27 million in proceeds “to continue to diversify its revenue streams and increase shareholder returns in the future.” The Journal’s union is currently bracing for more layoffs.

• Related: No reason for Belo to sell Projo with price at $51 million (Dec. 28, 2010)


12 in Projo union take buyouts, including Harrop; layoffs loom

October 8th, 2013 at 12:56 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A dozen members of the Providence Newspaper Guild have agreed to accept buyouts at The Providence Journal but layoffs are still expected to hit the newspaper later this month, a union official said Tuesday.

Guild President John Hill told WPRI.com 12 of his union’s members have taken the buyout, including nationally syndicated opinion columnist Froma Harrop, who serves on The Journal’s five-member editorial board. Harrop has been with the paper since at least the mid-1980s.

Harrop told WPRI.com she will continue to write her twice-weekly column, which is carried in more than 150 newspapers, for distribution by Los Angeles-based Creators Syndicate. The column will continue to appear in The Journal because the paper has agreed to pay to carry it, she said.

Two other newsroom veterans who took buyouts were Richard Dujardin, a longtime religion reporter, and Tracy Breton, a legal and investigative reporter. Dujardin has been with The Journal since 1966, except for a three-year stint in the U.S. Navy, while Breton has been with the newspaper since 1973.

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Projo plans roughly 30 job cuts amid ongoing slump in sales

September 20th, 2013 at 3:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_ad_sales_2Q2013Providence Journal executives told employees Friday they plan to cut roughly 30 jobs in the coming weeks through buyouts, and will resort to layoffs if too few workers choose to leave voluntarily, a union official said.

Providence Newspaper Guild President John Hill said reporters, editors and other employees were informed Friday morning about the decision to downsize the staff.

“We were told today they’re looking for in the ballpark of 30 positions but did not have a specific number at this point,” Hill told WPRI.com. “They said the uncertainty is because they want to see how many people will put in for buyouts.”

The Journal’s management plans to get rid of both union and non-union jobs across the company, and Hill said they are “probably looking for more [cuts] from editorial than advertising.” The news was first reported on Twitter by Mike Stanton, who retired recently as The Journal’s chief investigative reporter.

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Murdoch sells Standard-Times; GateHouse to manage it

September 3rd, 2013 at 6:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has sold its Dow Jones Local Media Group – which owns 33 publications including the New Bedford Standard-Times, the Cape Cod Times and The Inquirer and Mirror of Nantucket – and handed over their management to GateHouse Media Inc.

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Watch Newsmakers: Jorge Elorza; Mike Stanton

September 1st, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Chart: The Projo vs. The Boston Globe since the downturn

August 15th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

When John Henry bought The Boston Globe for $70 million earlier this month, it got at least a few locals talking – once again – about the possibility that The Providence Journal could get returned to local ownership.

While anything’s possible, especially in this era of media turmoil, there’s been absolutely no signal that Dallas-based A.H. Belo, which owns the Projo, is interested in selling the paper – particularly since, just like The Globe, The Journal has probably lost more than 90% of its value since Belo bought it in the 1990s.

Nevertheless, it’s worth comparing how The Globe and The Journal have fared over the past few years as newspapers’ top lines have been battered by falling revenue and declining circulation. Here’s the year-over-change in advertising sales at the two newspapers from 2007 through last year:

Projo_Globe_ad_revenue_2007_2012

And here’s the year-over-change in circulation revenue at the two publications:

Projo_Globe_circ_revenue_2007_2012

(Note that The Globe’s figures are for The New York Times’ New England Media Group, which also includes the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.)

The patterns look pretty similar. The Projo’s advertising slide has been a bit worse than The Globe’s, though it started a little later. But the Projo has boosted circulation revenue at a faster pace. (Both papers have raised prices as readership fell, which is why a lower circulation hasn’t led to lower total circulation revenue.)

• Related: Spring ad sales down 14% at Projo; CEO blames RI malaise (July 30)


Watch Newsmakers: NAACP’s Jim Vincent; Phoenix’s Phil Eil

August 4th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Spring ad sales down 14% at Projo; CEO blames RI malaise

July 30th, 2013 at 3:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_ad_sales_2Q2013The Providence Journal’s advertising sales dropped again this past spring, as Rhode Island’s statewide daily continued to wrestle with a changing media landscape and a weak local economy.

The Journal’s advertising revenue was down 14% between April 1 and June 30 compared with the same period in 2012, parent company A.H. Belo disclosed in an SEC filing. Quarterly ad sales fell to $10.3 million, or $1.7 million below last year’s level.

Total second-quarter revenue at The Journal from all sources was down 8% from 2012, falling to $22.1 million. Circulation revenue fell 2% to $8.5 million. Printing and distribution contracts, which had been offsetting ad losses, fell 2% to $3.3 million.

Asked Monday on an investor call to give an overview of the situation, A.H. Belo CEO Robert Decherd was blunt: “There’s really not much good news in the Rhode Island economy right now.”

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Projo company’s CEO will make $300,000 – after he retires

June 19th, 2013 at 6:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Robert Decherd

Robert Decherd

The Providence Journal’s parent company, A.H. Belo, announced Wednesday that Robert Decherd will retire as its chairman, president and CEO on Sept. 11 and be succeeded by Jim Moroney, the Dallas Morning News’ longtime publisher and CEO.

Decherd, 62, will move to a new role as vice chairman of the board – and he’ll be richly compensated for doing so, according to a filing late Wednesday with the SEC.

Decherd will be paid $300,000 a year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to serve as vice chairman of A.H. Belo’s board of directors, the company disclosed. Although Decherd will stop being CEO in September, he’ll still get his full $600,000 annual salary for 2013 and will be eligible for a full year’s bonus. Decherd earned $1.9 million in 2012.

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Advertising sales down 15% at Projo during first quarter

May 6th, 2013 at 9:53 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_ad_sales_1Q2013The Providence Journal’s advertising sales dropped again during the first three months of this year, as Rhode Island’s statewide daily newspaper reported losses in nearly every type of notice.

The Journal’s advertising revenue was down 15% between Jan. 1 and March 31 compared with the same period in 2012, parent company A.H. Belo disclosed in an SEC filing. Quarterly ad sales fell to $9.6 million, or $1.7 million below last year’s level.

Total first-quarter revenue at The Journal from all sources was down 9% from 2012, falling to $20.6 million, thanks to a 10% increase in its contracts to print and distribute other newspapers. Circulation revenue fell 7% to $8 million.

“In Providence we got off to a bumpy start for a variety of reasons,” A.H. Belo CEO Robert Decherd told investors in a conference call last week. He said some of The Journal’s promotional plans for the start of the year were hamstrung by the winter storms that hit Rhode Island.

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Projo’s Sunday circulation slumps 10%; owner loses $8M

April 30th, 2013 at 8:41 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_Sunday_circ_3-31-2013The Providence Journal’s Sunday print circulation fell 10% during the six months ended March 31, figures released Tuesday showed, as the newspaper’s parent company reported a first-quarter loss of $8 million.

The Journal’s print circulation on Sundays – the most lucrative edition of the week for most papers – totaled 109,516 copies, down by 12,763 since March 2012, the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations) reported Tuesday morning.

The Projo sold an average of 79,244 traditional print editions on weekdays between Oct. 1 and March 31, a decrease of 6,252 from a year earlier and 45% fewer than in September 2007.

Saturday circulation dipped below 100,000 for the first time, falling by 10,484 to 98,651. Weekday circulation fell below 100,000 for the first time in 2010. The overall pace of circulation loss has slowed since 2009-10, when the annual rate of decline on Sundays peaked at 17%.

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Watch: Newspaper front pages document Marathon bombings

April 16th, 2013 at 12:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Projo parent company’s top four execs share $1.7M in bonuses

April 2nd, 2013 at 11:32 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Robert Decherd

Robert Decherd

The Providence Journal’s parent company gave its top executives pay raises and $1.7 million in bonuses in 2012 as they eked out an annual profit for the first time.

A.H. Belo awarded CEO Robert Decherd $1.9 million in 2012, up from $1.6 million in 2011 and $499,180 in 2009, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing.

Decherd’s compensation included a $567,692 salary, bumped up from $480,000 in 2011; $705,678 in cash bonuses; $487,500 in stock awards; and $127,139 in other benefits, including $7,920 for life insurance. Decherd is also A.H. Belo’s chairman and president.

In addition, the Dallas-based company said it paid Executive Vice President James Moroney $1.4 million in 2012, up from $1.1 million in 2011; Chief Financial Officer Alison Engel $805,490, up from $626,091; and Senior Vice President Daniel Blizzard $557,672, up from $424,991. Former executive John McKeon received $272,286 before his departure last April.

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Providence Phoenix will remain open as Boston Phoenix closes

March 14th, 2013 at 3:12 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

prov_phoenixLegendary alt-weekly newspaper the Boston Phoenix is closing its doors, but its Providence sister publication is safe for now.

Phoenix Media/Communications Group CEO Stephen Mindich announced Wednesday the Boston newspaper will cease print publication with the issue dated March 15, and will publish its last edition online March 22.

“The Portland Phoenix in Maine and the Providence Phoenix in Rhode Island will be unaffected,” the company said. “They will continue weekly publication.”

Mindich elaborated in a statement: “Because of their smaller scale of operations and because we believe that they remain meaningful publications to their communities, with some necessary changes to each, it is our intent to keep the Providence and Portland Phoenixes operating and to do so for as long as they remain financially viable.”

Providence Phoenix news editor David Scharfenberg described the Boston Phoenix’s demise as “heartbreaking,” writing on his blog: “I will say my faith in the importance of the Providence Phoenix to this city, and state, is unshaken.” Scharfenberg’s predecessor, Ian Donnis of Rhode Island Public Radio, called it “a sad day for anyone who cares about the news.”

The Providence Phoenix was founded in 1979 as the NewPaper. Phoenix Media acquired it in 1988 and it was renamed the Providence Phoenix five years later.


Projo revenue nearly steady in 2012, but ad sales are down 66%

March 12th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_annual_revenue_2005_2012

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence Journal’s revenue losses nearly stopped in 2012 as significant growth in the company’s contracts for printing and distribution helped offset dwindling advertising and declining circulation.

The Journal’s revenue totaled $93.8 million in 2012, according to an SEC filing by its parent company A.H. Belo. The 1.4% decrease compared with 2011 was the newspaper’s smallest in at least eight years. Total Journal revenue has plummeted 43% since 2005, when the paper pulled in $165.6 million.

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Why East Bay Newspapers is starting a weekly in Portsmouth

March 5th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Don’t tell the owners of East Bay Newspapers their industry is dying.

The Bristol-based chain has launched a new free weekly, the Portsmouth Times, in the crowded Aquidneck Island media market. A 40-page first edition was published last Thursday, with an initial print run of 3,000 copies distributed at about 150 locations.

The Times joins EBN’s six other papers: the Barrington Times, the Warren Times-Gazette, the Bristol Phoenix, the East Providence Post, the Sakonnet Times and the Westport Shorelines.

“It’s nice after various years of contraction to be starting something new,” Scott Pickering, EBN’s general manager, told WPRI.com.

Portsmouth isn’t new territory for East Bay Newspapers: the company’s Sakonnet Times has covered the town, along with Little Compton and Tiverton, for 47 years. But Pickering said the company recently decided Portsmouth needed its own paper, though it will share regional stories with the Sakonnet Times.

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Brown U. student’s attack on voting makes ‘worst columns’ list

December 21st, 2012 at 10:28 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The Atlantic Wire’s David Wagner has taken on the thankless task of compiling “The 50 Worst Columns of 2012,” featuring his selection of the most misguided, boneheaded opinion pieces published this year.

Along with the usual media stars – Peggy Noonan, Dick Morris, Maureen Dowd – the list also features a Nov. 13 piece by Oliver Hudson, a Brown University undergraduate and a columnist at The Brown Daily Herald. Here’s Wagner’s writeup:

Oliver Hudson in The Brown Daily Herald on why voting rights are wrong Here’s one way to get everyone’s attention: attack a cornerstone of modern American democracy. “Most of us accept and celebrate our universal suffrage. But is it a good idea? In my view, no,” writes Brown undergraduate Oliver Hudson, who thinks voting rights should be determined by tax bracket (that’s not a joke). “If person A contributes 100 times more than person B in income taxes, person A should have 100 times more voting power than person B.” So basically, Donald Trump should get to handpick our presidents?

Hudson – who is also editor-in-chief of The Brown Spectator, an student-run conservative journal – certainly stirred up controversy, getting push back from the Brown Politics Memo and later publishing a reply to his “outraged readers.” Alas, the reply used a fake Jefferson quote.

The Atlantic’s list isn’t the only end-of-the-year roundup that Hudson’s column has made – USA Today College put the piece on its list of “4 Controversial Columns that Defined 2012,” too.

​(photo: Brown Daily Herald)