Friday, May 18, 2007
New Times/VVM Sells East Bay Express
A former employee tipped me to this article:

The change could benefit readers by marginally increasing competition in a Bay Area print marketplace that has seen much recent ownership consolidation. Last year, the Denver-based MediaNews Group purchased the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times from the McClatchy Co., giving the conglomerate control of virtually every Bay Area daily newspaper other than The Chronicle.

Village Voice Media, which was purchased by New Times Media in 2005, owns SF Weekly and controls roughly a quarter of the circulation among the nation's alternative weeklies. Other than using some of the same Village Voice Media movie reviewers and twice using the same cover story, the San Francisco and East Bay corporate siblings generally stuck to their respective sides of the bay.

Now, there will be no ties.

"This is a wonderful thing," said Tracy Rosenberg, interim operations director of Media Alliance, a Bay Area media watchdog organization. "The potential for self-ownership and for journalists to enter ownership is terrific and exciting. It almost never happens."

But, "A lot of questions remain unanswered," said Yumi Wilson, assistant professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. While it is potentially exciting to have independent media ownership, "You want to see what new owners are going to do."

Does this signal that New Times/VVM is interested in downsizing by selling off properties? Or is this a way for them to better compete in the Bay Area by minimizing their costs and focusing on the more lucrative SF Weekly? Will independent journalism benefit from a three-way competition in the Bay Area? It's too early to tell.

One thing that's almost certain--alt-journalist wages aren't going up any time soon.

posted by Zentronix @ 9:00 AM   1 comments links to this post


At 6/4/07, 9:26 PM, Anonymous gandalf mantooth said...

I'm hoping New Times keeps selling off, though I tend to doubt the Nashville Scene would be one of them. As far as the music pages are concerned the damage is done and irreversible, methinks.


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