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Columbus Dispatch - Print Publications Sold

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Columbus Dispatch – Print Publications Sold

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    Web comments are disabled on the open letter from John F.

    Perhaps the Wolfes inability to understand and/or leverage the Internet has a little bit to do with their bailing on the Dispatch.



    that has exactly nothing to do with it. Print media business can only hope to survive by scaling the cost to print and distribute across a number of markets thus the consolidation. NY Times continues to struggle with declining profit (-$64 million from 2013-2014) and I don’t think most media analyst would say they suffer from “inability to understand and/or leverage the Internet” problem is digital pennies don’t cover the analog dollars lost.



    Not that I necessarily blame Mr. Wolfe for selling, but it is interesting to see just how much of a 180 this move is from what he said on the record just a couple years ago…

    “For a long time,” Wolfe said, “most newspapers were family-owned, but little by little they’ve been sold to others. We have not done that and have no plans to do that. We love this city and being part of it. It was something I was raised on.”

    Wolfe said he also has a good management team in place to carry on operations after he retires.

    “Whether I’m here or not,” he said, “I don’t anticipate dramatic changes in the operations of the company.”



    This is really bad. It’s bad for Columbus as a vibrant and growing city especially.

    I’ll agree, I’ve had more than a few complaints about the Dispatch. Not least of all their editorial boards position on issues.

    But on balance, the Dispatch under the Wolfe family’s leadership has been more good than bad. Others have pointed out the role that the paper has played in brining to light things like the school data scandal and problems with absent landlords and code violations. Who is going to play that role now?

    Has anyone taken a look at the portfolio of media properties controlled by the new owner? I have, and it’s not pretty. (Admittedly, I’ve looked at a sampling and my perception could skewed.)

    They have cookie cutter Web design (that is far from intuitive), which suggests lack of attention if not investment. And they do not seem to own newspapers in the type of first tier cities that we in Columbus like to consider our peers.

    I’d say that a well run and well regarded daily paper is as important (at least as a signifier) as light rail or other mass transit.

    Sure, there are others in town who can pick up the torch. WCBE and WOSU for example. Or Walker can continue the evolution of this site (and continue to get grief for “killing” it). But the fact of the matter is, I doubt Columbus Underground is in any position at this time to take up the type of in depth long form journalism that takes months of work for little monetary return. Maybe someday, but it’s a young media property by any measure, let alone when compared to the tenure of the dispatch. And while the npr stations are great, they likely have their hands full already too.

    So what I’m saying is, even if you won’t miss the dispatch of its own accord, this is sad day for anyone who loves this city.



    Why this company though? The biggest daily newspapers they own are in places like Stockton, Peoria, Canton, Providence. We are by far going to be the largest daily for them.

    Josh Miller
    Josh Miller

    [quote=1079291]Why this company though? The biggest daily newspapers they own are in places like Stockton, Peoria, Canton, Providence. We are by far going to be the largest daily for them. [/quote]
    I think you answered it… If they can turn a profit on a daily newspaper in those small pop cities they’ll be able to kill it in Columbus, probably a pretty lucrative, too good to pass up offer for the dispatch



    [quote=1079291]Why this company though?[/quote]

    My guess: $$



    I don’t understand all the hatred for the Dispatch. It’s not the New York Times, but for a metro paper in a city this size, it’s actually pretty good. And love or hate the Wolfes, it is better to have local people who actually care about what happens to this city running the paper than to have Wall Street guys who are only interested in making the biggest profit they can. It’s better to have a private owner with skin in the game than it is to have a newspaper chain’s equivalent of the local Sears store manager running the show.

    That said, I also find it a little disconcerting that they sold out to this outfit. I am also not impressed with the stable of newspapers they own. They seem to be like the newspaper version of Sinclair (before Sinclair beefed up in the last few years). I would have hoped that they would have picked a better buyer than these guys. (What about Jeff Bezos? Warren Buffett? – The Omaha World Hearld is a pretty good paper.)

    Also, call me surprised (and happy) Gannett wasn’t the buyer. I thought the joint printing operation was their way of taking baby steps toward an ultimate merger. I hate Gannett, but with papers in Indy, Cincinnati, Nashville, Louisville and Detroit, not to mention Lancaster, Newark, Marion, Mansfield and Zanesville, I would have thought they would be willing to pay through the nose to get the Dispatch properties.

    What a bombshell story.


    Pro Se

    Does this mean The Dispatch can finally consider endorsing a Democrat for President? The editorial board politics will be interesting to watch.



    Maybe this isn’t going to be so bad after all.

    From the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette:

    LANCASTER – The impending sale of the Columbus Dispatch and its related print publications to New Media Investment Group has a Fairfield County flavor to it.

    Lancaster native and former Eagle-Gazette employee Kirk Davis is the CEO of GateHouse Media, which will operate the paper. Davis is also the brother of county commissioner Steve Davis.

    “I grew up in central Ohio and I’m happy to play a role in the Dispatch’s future,” Kirk Davis said. “I’ll be spending a lot of time at the Dispatch so I will be able to be closer to my mom and dad (in Fairfield County).”

    He said the Dispatch will be the largest of the 126 daily papers the company, which is based in Pittsford, New York, owns. It has papers in 32 states.


    The owner of 614 Magazine posted this on Twitter. He is weighing in on why the Dispatch found itself in this situation:



    Hopefully, they can move on from the bias crap. I use to enjoy reading the dispatch but that bias was getting to be too much.





    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>MichaelC wrote:</div>
    …ceding of their role in the power structure is perhaps most newsworthy…

    I couldn’t disagree more. The influence and power of local newspaper publishers has been on the decline for nearly 20 years. Shedding the print products will likely preserve any existing wealth and influence.

    You underestimate their influence. Both the Republicans and the Democrats often float proposals to the Dispatch/Wolfes before going public to see where they landed on the issue. Wolfe is still in charge of the Dispatch so I think his power will stay in place.

    Jesse Bethea
    Jesse Bethea
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