And not to the Plain Dealer. Sound Publishing, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Black Press, Ltd. bought Akron’s paper. Big ups to Ohio.com for having a podcast of Publisher James Crutchfield’s meeting with staff.
The “Sound” in Sound Publishing is Puget Sound. Sound is based in Bainbridge Island, WA and runs a number of weekly and twice-weekly papers in the region. The Black in Black Press is company founder David Black. Black Press is based in Western Canada and runs papers in Alberta, British Columbia and Hawaii.
After Googling the frustratingly generic names and listening to the pod, I wonder if Laura Rich Fine advises Black. Thanks to her I was looking and listening for certain features that she saw as key to a successful newspaper company. Black pretty much runs the table.
- Not a Publicly-Owned company. Check. Black is a family-owned company. The BJ is going back to its roots. In the family-owned sense, not the run from an island off Washington sense.
- Focused on local News. Check. Sound Publishing’s website is practically lifted from Fine’s speech:
Anybody can tell you what's going on in the world--CNN, USA Today, or Yahoo. But where do you turn when you want to know about the new construction site down the street or the latest school board vote?
That's where we come in. Sound Publishing newspapers cover local news,
high school sports, police activity, weddings and new babies - whatever is going
on in your community.
- Web Savvy. Check. Black formed a separate company in 1999 to host nationwide web-based classified advertising. Looking at some of the newspaper websites, they have a pretty good balance of content and advertising, easy navigation and reasonably fast downloads.
- Fine’s Dream: A pdf File of the Paper in her Inbox. Even this far-off idea is closer with Black and Sound. Black uses a pdf-based app in its printing facilities.
The one potential downside is that Sound doesn’t appear to operate any daily newspapers From what I can see Black (or perhaps some other subsidiary of Black) owns the dailies. That probably makes the publishing team in place at the BJ feel better about job security – less likely the new owner will want to put his guys in if he doesn’t really have guys. On the other hand, one wonders about the learning curve.
Finally, I am happy someone beat out Plain Dealer owner Advance Publications. I like Cleveland, but find C-town’s attitude toward Akron a little wearing. Clevelanders talk about “Cleveland” and mean the Cleveland Statistical Metropolitan Area. Fair enough. If I lived in Brooklyn it probably wouldn’t bother me to be lumped in with Cleveland. Clevelanders, however, don’t seem to appreciate that Akron isn’t a suburb of Cleveland.
And yes, I join Redhorse in the irritation that Mark Naymik didn’t interview any bloggers in Akron. And no, that’s not what started it, it’s just the latest manifestation. Nothing against Cleveland, we just need our own stuff here.