MediaNews Group

MediaNews’ Richard Scudder dies at 99

The Denver Post
Richard Scudder, who with Dean Singleton built MediaNews Group into the second-largest newspaper chain by circulation and then saw the company go into bankruptcy in 2010, died early Wednesday.

Scudder’s career in newspapers started in the 1930s, as a reporter at the Boston Herald and the Newark Evening News, which his grandfather had founded, according to the Post’s obituary.

“The newspaper business generally has fallen into the hands of people other than those who grew up in the newsroom,” Scudder said in a 1988 interview. “That’s not the case with Dean and myself. We’ve been reporters, and we’ve been out in the street. I don’t know how you could judge a newspaper to be good or not so good unless you’ve lived in the newsroom for a while.”

An interesting footnote: Scudder was one of the inventors of a process that removed ink from newsprint, which gave birth to the recycled newsprint industry. Read more


Denver Post, Bay Area News Group revamp story editing with fewer copy editors

In some ways, the Denver Post and Contra Costa Times’ cutbacks in copyediting, announced last month and now final, are a common story these days. Less common are the other changes they’re making in how they handle print stories.

The Denver Post is eliminating its copy desk and moving away from an assembly-line editing process. Instead, reporters and editors on each desk will take stories from reporting to publishing, online and in print.

The Contra Costa Times, which handles production for the Bay Area News Group’s 10 regional newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune, is not eliminating its copy desk. But it is reducing the amount of copy editing for routine stories and moving deadlines up so stories are published earlier in the day. Read more


Bay Area News Group cuts 34 newsroom positions

Walnut Creek Patch
MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group, which includes the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, The Oakland Tribune and other papers, cut 34 positions on Tuesday. Walnut Creek Patch reports that 10 of the cuts were voluntary; that matches the expectations of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, which said on its website last week that about 25 people would be laid off after “several workers quit or stepped forward for a voluntary layoff” and the company reduced its freelance expenses. || Related: Such cutbacks increase the importance of independent sites like Oakland Local (CJR) || Earlier: Oakland Tribune, other BANG papers to retain mastheads; end Monday home delivery ( Read more


Oakland Tribune, other BANG papers to retain mastheads; end Monday home delivery

San Jose Mercury News
Bay Area News Group (BANG) has reversed its decision to combine its East Bay papers into two mastheads after getting negative feedback from the community. BANG also announced Thursday that it will halt home delivery on Mondays of the Oakland Tribune, The Argus and the Hayward Daily Review, starting sometime in November. Monday papers will still be available at stores and news racks; there will also be electronic versions.

BANG and parent company MediaNews Group said they plan to emphasize social media and community participation, with the addition of a community media center in the new Oakland Tribune newsroom. “This strategy is in the forefront of the newspaper industry’s transition from print-centric businesses to a locally focused provider of news and information across multiple platforms,” says MediaNews Group CEO John Paton. Read more


Digital First Media names leadership team

Digital First Media, the new company that runs MediaNews and Journal Register Co. properties, has named its leadership team. Jeff Bairstow, who was Journal Register’s chief financial officer, will run daily operations for all news outlets as president of Digital First Media. Jim Brady, who was named editor-in-chief of Journal Register Co. earlier this year, now has the same title for Digital First Media. (Brady has done some consulting for Poynter.) The executive editor is David J. Butler, who has been VP of news for MediaNews and editor of the San Jose Mercury News. Read more

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MediaNews and Journal Register Co. brought under one roof with John Paton at helm

Journal Register Co.
Journal Register Co. announced Wednesday that it is creating a company called Digital First Media Inc. to manage it and MediaNewsGroup. John Paton will be CEO of Digital First and will act as CEO of MediaNews and Journal Register Co. Paton said in the news release that the change will accelerate the transition “from what have largely been print-centric businesses to modern, multi-platform media companies focused on local news and advertising.” Paton writes in a blog post, “If our dailies continue on the trend they are on right now, by the end of the year they will have brought in more digital revenue than the costs of running their newsrooms. Digital revenues can pay for newspaper newsrooms.” Read more


About 120 lose jobs in Bay Area News Group rebranding, streamlining

San Francisco Chronicle | Contra Costa Times |
The existing Bay Area News Group (BANG) newspapers titles will continue to be published after the changes take effect on November 2, 2011, but under two consolidated mastheads. The Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald, and East County Times will be branded under The Times masthead, while the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will be rebranded as the East Bay Tribune. BANG — a division of MediaNews Group — also says it’s streamlining its print operations, which will result in a reduction of approximately 120 jobs, “primarily in the production and editorial divisions.” ||’s Lance Howland hears that almost 50 people on the editorial side will lose their jobs. Read more


‘Watch for MediaNews CEO search to end with Journal Register’s Paton’
Rick Edmonds explains his “wild guess”: “John Paton has transformed Journal Register to digital first, and that aligns with MediaNews’ likely direction.” Journal Register and Media News can also be merged — perhaps with Freedom too, he says. PLUS: Who is Randall Smith and what does he want with the newspapers he’s investing in? Read more


Howard Saltz named editor of Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Howard Saltz, former vice president of content development at MediaNews Group Interactive, has been named editor of the Sun-Sentinel. Saltz was one of the executives who had worked on MediaNews’ paid content strategy. From the Sun-Sentinel:

Saltz came up through the ranks on the traditional side of the business, serving as deputy managing editor of The Denver Post and editor-in-chief of four MediaNews Group papers, before emerging as the chief editorial executive for its interactive division. Recognized for his innovation and vision at MediaNews Group, Saltz pioneered paid content models and strategies, laid the groundwork for newsroom convergence and served as a guardian of journalism ethics for the digital enterprises of more than 55 dailies and 100 plus weeklies.

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MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group papers to operate under one news management team

San Jose Mercury News | Pleasanton Patch
BANG has tapped San Jose Mercury News editor and MediaNews Group news veep David J. Butler lead all the papers. In addition to the Mercury News, BANG papers include the Contra Costa Times, San Mateo County Times, Oakland Tribune and various sister daily and weekly papers. Pleasanton Patch reports: “An employee at the Contra Costa Times said the mood in the newsroom was quiet and gloomy. The employee said the announcement wasn’t necessarily surprising, given the other cutbacks at the newspapers the past few years.” || Newsman Richard Brenneman has been blogging the BANG announcement. Read more