Local heartland papers get snapped up
An east coast technology company is buying community newspapers in the heartland.
Driving the news: CherryRoad Media of Parsippany, New Jersey, announced last week it had purchased nine newspapers in Arkansas and Missouri, including the Carroll County News in Berryville and the Lovely County Citizen in Eureka Springs.
- The company started buying papers in 2020 and has amassed 63 titles stretching from International Falls, Minnesota to Alice, Texas.
Why it matters: Local journalism not only holds local officials accountable, it binds communities together through a shared experience.
- Since 2004, about 1,800 newspapers have closed, leaving pockets in the U.S. without local watchdogs.
Context: CherryRoad Technologies, the parent company's core business, provides cloud, networking and information technology services to municipalities, schools and universities, as well as web and marketing services to businesses.
By the numbers: As of October 2021, CherryRoad had 27 newspaper titles in its stable, 20 of which were purchased from Gannett in September.
- The company purchased or relaunched 38 others in the past six months. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
- About 150 people work at CherryRoad's newspapers.
What they're saying: The idea to buy newspapers was a sort of double-whammy. "You know there's there's money to be made running a newspaper, but there's also money made by being a trusted technology partner in the community as well," Jeremy Gulban, CherryRoad CEO, told Axios.
- All CherryRoad newspapers will eventually use the same content management system to publish online, providing scalability, Gulban told us.
- All the titles will continue to print on paper and eventually add email newsletters.
What we're watching: We'll be looking to see if CherryRoad picks up any additional newspapers, and what the newsrooms and their local coverage look like in the coming months.
Of note: Local newsletters figure largely into the Axios growth model, as The New York Times highlighted in a story about Axios Monday.
See an interactive version of the map above.
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