Eagle Newspapers, based in Syracuse, and Spotlight Newspapers, based in Delmar, have been purchased by Community Media Group LLC - a new company formed by Denton Publications owner Daniel E. Alexander.
The new partnership draws 15 free and paid community newspapers under the Denton umbrella, bringing the local company's total number of publications to 25 with a combined circulation of 250,000, as well as a number of niche publications and Web sites.
While the purchase will open numerous advertising opportunities and create a network for sharing resources and improving content, Alexander stressed the papers will all retain their commitment to community journalism.
"We plan to remain local, we believe in the community newspaper concept," Alexander said. "At the same time, we recognize people do travel, and both advertisers and readers will no doubt have an interest in the areas covered by these papers."
For example, Alexander said a local event like Race the Train which took place in North Creek in September can now receive publicity in a much greater portion of New York and Vermont, through the new partnership.
"Our network is far reaching," Alexander said. "I've been told that our publicity of these events definitely draws participants, which in turn brings money to our communities. This new relationship can only help with that."
The same opportunities exist for advertisers, Alexander said. Advertisers will soon have the ability to reach 250,000 homes throughout Vermont, northern and central New York, as well as the Capital District with just one buy - or they can target a single region.
"The benefit over the metro dailies is we can zone for a specific region, or offer the entire area," he said. "We see this as an opportunity for choice."
Both Eagle Newspapers and Spotlight Newspapers are strong organizations which have for years produced upscale community newspapers with numerous awards to their credit.
Eagle publisher David B. Tyler Jr. and Spotlight publisher John A. McIntyre Jr. will remain at the helm of their respective groups and will be principals of Community Media Group LLC along with Alexander.
Alexander has a similar principal ownership in New Market Press Inc. and publisher Ed Coats, who publishes The Eagle, Rutland Tribune and The Messenger in Vermont.
In New York, Denton publishes the Adirondack Journal, Times of Ti, News Enterprise, Valley News, Tri-Lakes Free Trader Today, Clinton County Free Trader Today and North Countryman.
Eagle Newspapers has eight weekly publications in the Syracuse market. They are the Baldswinsville Messenger, Cazenovia Republican, Eagle Bulletin, Eagle Observer, Madison Eagle Skaneateles Press, Syracuse City Eagle and Star-Review.
Spotlight Newspapers has seven publications in the Albany market including The Spotlight, Colonie Spotlight, Loudonville Spotlight, Niskayuna Spotlight, Rotterdam Spotlight, Scotia-Glenville Spotlight and The Spotlight - Saratoga County. Monthly publications include Capital District Parent Pages and Capital District Senior Spotlight.
The publishers said the purchase is a win-win for all involved.
"These newspapers have a strong foundation in the communities they serve, and we believe this new ownership arrangement will allow us to enhance the quality of the editorial product and create efficiencies that weren't available to us previously," Tyler said. "Dan Alexander has a long history of running community newspaper companies and his expertise as well as the technological and printing resources Denton Publications bring to the table makes this a win-win."
Community Media Group LLC will continue to use the trade names Eagle Newspapers and Spotlight Newspapers and readers can expect the same commitment to community journalism they have become accustomed to over the years, McIntyre said.
"This should be a pretty seamless transition for our readers, advertisers and employees," McIntyre said. "We have a number of excellent journalists in our fold, and this transaction should allow for continued improvement of our community-based newspapers."
Denton Publications plant manager Tom Henecker said relationships like the one created between Eagle, Spotlight, New Market and Denton make sense given the current economic climate.
"It's a great thing that during these tough economic times we're able to expand. It's a testament to the forward-thinking owners and managers," Henecker said. "There are a lot of years of newspaper experience that have just joined forces. It's the proverbial win-win situation; as our company grows and gets stronger, so will our products, which will bring greater benefits to our readers and advertisers."