A bankruptcy judge in Orange County this morning approved the sale of Freedom Communications and its two major newspapers, the Register and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, to Digital First Media. DFM is the parent of the Los Angeles News Group and the chief executive of LANG, Ron Hasse, just sent an email memo announcing the group's change to the Southern California News Group, with 11 daily newspapers and more than a dozen weeklies. "We become the largest news content provider in the combined counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino," says Hasse.
Sadly, the LANG dailies in Los Angeles County are painfully thin and the websites verge on unusable, with outdated news left sitting on the front pages. So cross your fingers that this goes well. The Register has a much better website and digital platform from what I can tell.
Here's the memo:
From: Ron Hasse
Date: Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 9:49 AM
Subject: [All LANG employees] DFM Acquires Freedom Communications
We are excited to announce today that a Santa Ana bankruptcy judge approved our acquisition of the Orange County Register, the Riverside Press-Enterprise, and other assets of Freedom Communications.
As a result the Los Angeles News Group becomes the Southern California News Group, and we become the largest news content provider in the combined counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino. SCNG now owns 11 Southern California daily newspapers and more than a dozen community weeklies, ranking among the top five nationally in Sunday circulation and among the top six daily. SCNG will reach more than 6.3 million unique visitors on digital platforms each month, drawing 22 million page views.
The Orange County Register is a world-class news organization known for innovative and quality journalism and advertising. It has won three Pulitzer Prizes and, for more than a century, been the region’s go-to and trusted news source. The Press-Enterprise shares the Register’s outstanding reputation, has also earned a Pulitzer and is equally revered among its readers and advertisers.
Soon, we will welcome gifted and talented new colleagues, and together, we will be one of the most dynamic news organizations in the world.
One of the reasons the bankruptcy court awarded us these papers is because of our track record of profitability and dedication to local news.
We have all of you to thank for that.
Today’s news provides us with an opportunity to offer expanded and enriched coverage to our readers and a broader platform for our advertisers to deliver their messages. It also ensures that newspaper competition remains, which ultimately makes us – and our products – better.
Please join us in welcoming our new colleagues, and let us know if you have any questions or comments. We hope you are as excited as we are about the possibilities that the future holds.
Here is the Register story.