BOSTON HERALD FINALIZES COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER BUY

By: Lucia Moses

36 Jobs Cut At CNC Chain


Herald Media Inc., parent of the Boston Herald, announced
staff cuts and top management appointments at Community Newspaper
Co. as it prepares to complete its purchase of the chain
Thursday.

Kirk Davis will stay on as CNC president and publisher, while
Kevin Convey, a Boston Herald managing editor, will become
the group’s editor-in-chief. He will replace Mary Jo Meisner, who
is leaving the company.

“Under Kirk’s direction, CNC has grown into a robust and
profitable multi-media news organization,” Herald Media owner
Patrick J. Purcell said in a statement.

A press conference to discuss the acquisition is scheduled for
10:30 a.m. Thursday at CNC’s Needham offices.

Thirty-six of CNC’s 1,100 employees will lose their jobs at the
chain, which has suffered from high turnover and reader criticism
over cost-cuts in recent years. Herald Media had been expected to
lay off as many as 50 people.

Purcell had hoped to close the deal three months ago, but
reportedly had trouble lining up financing because of the
tightening capital markets.

The combination of Boston’s tabloid and the eastern Massachusetts
weekly chain is likely to notch up competition for area readers.
Terms were not disclosed, but the $150 million figure has been
widely reported.

The deal combines the strength of the 257,761 daily circulation-
Herald in the city with CNC’s suburban presence. CNC’s 87
weekly and four daily newspapers, plus shoppers and specialty
publications, have a combined circulation of close to 900,000.

A key battleground with The Boston Globe, daily
circulation 464,472, will be the affluent western suburbs, where
CNC’s biggest daily circulates and which the Globe has
aggressively courted in recent months through increased news
coverage. The deal ends seller Fidelity Investments’ 11-year
experience in the newspaper business. The Boston-based investment
firm said it decided to sell CNC because it lacked the scale it
needed to gain market share.

“Certainly, it’s a great opportunity, not just for the Boston
Herald, but all of our readers,” said Lesley Phillips,
president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston, CWA local
31032, union for the Herald.

Another outstanding matter for the Herald may be nearing a
resolution, too, as the union and management seem to be making
progress in off-the-record contract talks. “I’m cautiously
optimistic,” Phillips said. “We feel we’re pretty close.”



Lucia Moses (lmoses@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor covering business for E&P.



Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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