Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In The News: The Past And The Future For The ABQ Journal  

The news of the passing of former longtime ABQ Journal publisher Tom Lang at 69 has us back on the biz beat and wondering again about the future of the state's largest newspaper that like newspapers nearly everywhere continues to grapple with turbulent times. The newspaper remains in the Lang family with Tom's brother William at the helm. . .

We've noted the speculation that the cost-cutting and other measures taken this past year by the ABQ Journal could be setting it up for a sale. We pointed out that Scripps--the former owner of the now defunct ABQ Tribune--still has profit sharing rights with the Journal--and some think that could be a problem for any sale. A reader in the news business in DC has additional info on that and more:

Joe, You have to believe the Langs (owners of the ABQ Journal) are doing what newspapers do before a deal: cutting costs and watching expenses to maximize sale price. I'd put my bet on Gannett being the buyer, if there is a sale. They are on the hunt for acquisitions in cities of 500,000 to 3 million with a university presence and some semblance of a regional economy.

Gannett just bought Scripps' newspapers (Journal Media Group) so they may soon have a business relationship with the Journal, given the profit sharing arrangement--unless that was transferred to the broadcasting side of Scripps.

Gannett now owns the newspapers in Farmington, Silver City, Deming, Ruidoso, Carlsbad, Alamogordo, Las Cruces and El Paso. When you cluster papers by region you get big-time efficiencies--from sharing sports and state capitol coverage to printing and back office costs. And if your ad staff is on its game, you can do regional and national deals as a group.

No one is predicting anything yet, but that's very informed speculation from DC as we continue our real deal biz coverage and keep a close eye on what would be one of the biggest political/business stories around here in many a year.

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