FREEDOM BREAKS UP NEW-MEDIA UNIT

By: Staff reports

Web Sites Will Report To Print, Broadcast Heads





Freedom Communications of Irvine, Calif., announced Wednesday that it
will split its new-media division into separate units reporting to the
print, broadcast, and magazine groups. Freedom Interactive Media
Division President Greg Hurst will assist in the transition before
leaving the company later this year, the company said.



It’s the latest example of the newspaper industry’s struggle to find
the right business model for new media. Some papers have created
completely independent Internet units, while others have kept their
Web sites under print editors. Many papers have tried both approaches.



After just one year of running an independent unit, Freedom goes back
to an in-house approach.



‘By having our interactive businesses report to their respective
business divisions we strengthen the alliances between our local core
businesses and their spin-off interactive ventures,’ Freedom
Communications President and CEO Sam Wolgemuth said in a statement.



‘The downside of having a separate interactive division was that many
of our publishers and TV general managers felt that a significant part
of their future business had been taken away and was being developed
elsewhere,’ said Wolgemuth, who said local publishers and managers
would be accountable for the successes of Web sites in their groups.



Ron Redfern, president and chief operating officer of the company’s
flagship, The Orange County Register, becomes vice president of the
new Freedom Interactive Newspaper Group. He will report to Freedom
Orange County Newspapers President Chris Anderson and Freedom
Community Newspaper Division President Jon Segal.



The company’s broadcast and magazine divisions are still developing
plans for their new-media businesses.



Wolgemuth praised the outgoing Hurst. ‘The formation of the [independent
Internet unit last year] jump-started our new-media efforts,’ he said.
Freedom said it may partner with Hurst in another capacity after he
leaves the company.





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Staff Reports







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