Times Media Group Purchases Southland Publishing

By Mark Hanzlik, Executive Director

On August 1, 2019, Pasadena-based Southland Publishing, Inc., a long-time AWN member and sales partner, sold its eight southern California publications to Times Media Group, a publishing group based in Arizona.

That purchase included all five newsweeklies published by Southland: Los Angeles Downtown NewsPasadena WeeklyThe ArgonautVentura County Reporter, and San Diego CityBeat.

Additionally, TMG purchased Southland’s three monthly magazines: Arroyo MonthlyPlaya Vista Direct, and Ventana Monthly. Southland’s associated digital properties are also included in the transaction.

Southland Publishing was owned by Michael N. Flannery, who founded the company in 1997 with the purchase of the Ventura County Reporter. Flannery also owns an affiliated company in Sylmar, Calif., Valley Business Printers, Inc., which was not sold.

Note: Southland Vice President of Operations David Comden, who joined the company in 1998, and was a stalwart supporter and early adopter at AWN, has since become a Planning Commissioner at City of Ventura.

Hanzlik and Comden shown in front of Ventura Co. Reporter office in 2010.

Missoula Indy Shuttered Abruptly by Lee

By Mark Hanzlik, Executive Director

Missoula Independent has become the latest publishing casualty in the alt media world.

This one seemed more surprising, not just in the preventative action itself from corporate owner Lee Enterprises, but in the world of alternative print media, smaller markets appeared to have evaded some of the financial woes that leveled newspapers in the large metro markets this decade.  The closure of this long-time Montana independent voice certainly gives us pause as supporters of alternative media as a whole.   More importantly, it reminds how much has changed from simply needing alternative voices as a counterweight to mainstream media to the current state where journalism itself is being diluted and under attack.

The story broke in Montana and elsewhere across the U.S. yesterday (September 11) LA Times coverage here.

Our relationship with Missoula Independent goes back to 1994, a few years after Eric Johnson and Erik Cushman founded the paper.   They had just switched to free distribution (15,000 copies) and may have had no idea how many more years the publication would be serving readers in Montana.   Both Erik Cushman and Eric Johnson have crossed our paths several times throughout the ensuing years.   We’ve worked closely with Matt Gibson (owner from 1998 until 18 months ago), and his staff to bring revenue to a market that is often not included in national advertising media plans.

Having the largest weekly newspaper and the only true alternative voice in Montana be a member our network for the past 24 years has been a privilege.


Worn Down But Not Out

Blog post by twotrees (Alt publisher David Comden) on Media Medusa April 17, 2018.

Art Deco LA Times home will be vacated for new digs in El Segundo, South of LAX

Steve Lopez as been in the newspaper business for 43 years. And his piece in Sunday’s LA Times about the state of his newspaper may be one of his best. In it, he describes the state of the printed form of the fourth estate, the LA Times in particular, and his feelings on the subject. He also shows a little hope that the paper’s new owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong will help right the ship and make the paper vital again.

The new owner is obviously a very smart guy, having been a talented surgeon, inventor and now philanthropist. But whether he can reverse a trend that is not only nagging an industry but also leading to a malaise of societal ignorance is the question.  He seems to think so, investing $500 million into the purchase.  And he also is working on making employees believers, with a Friday visit to the downtown offices of the Times to speak to his soon to be new employees.  But not everything he’s done has turned to gold.  That’s what risk taking is all about.

BTW – the Times will be vacating their home of over 80 years when they move out of their 1935 Art Deco digs and move to El Segundo.  The Omni Group purchased the properties in 2016 for at least $105 million and will convert them to upscale housing.

Part of what makes news interesting is the telling of the story. And nobody does it better than Lopez. At least for the time being. Read his piece here.  



What Does the Future Hold?

Here’s another recent piece about the fate or future of alt media.  Alan Leveritt, Arkansas Times co-founder and publisher is one of a few industry leaders who shares their thoughts in this E&P piece from November 13, 2017.

In Search of a Healthy Future, Alt Weeklies Experiment with Stories and Revenue Strategies

By Sharon Knolle

With the closure of alternative weeklies in Baltimore and Philadelphia—and the Village Voice’s decision to end print publication after 62 years—the past few years have been grim for the once-essential element of the urban media landscape. But like other newspaper publications, alt weeklies around the country are finding new ways to be profitable, including nonprofit funding, specialty publications, and new advertising markets.

For this story, E&P talked to editors and publishers at several alt weeklies, including the founder of The Alt, a new weekly based in Albany, N.Y., and the new ownership team at DigBoston about their approach and the vital role that alt weeklies provide in their communities.

Link for full text of E&P article.