‘Riverdale Press,’ Bronx Paper Made Famous By Bombing, Sold

By: E&P Staff

The Riverdale Press — the Pulitzer Prize-winning neighborhood weekly in The Bronx neighborhood that made national headlines when it was firebombed at the height of “The Satanic Verses” controversy — has been sold, Gary Greene of the brokerage firm Cribb, Greene & Associates announced Wednesday.

Publishers Clifford and Stuart Richner of Garden City, N.Y.-based Richner Communications are the buyers. The paper was sold by Bernard and Richard Steins, the sons of David and Celia Stein, who founded the paper in 1950.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Cribb, Greene, with offices in Virginia, Montana, and Missouri, represented the sellers.

The weekly in the northwestern Bronx Riverside neighbor has had an impact beyond its 10,000 circulation.

In 1989, the Press was firebombed, five days after an editorial criticized a bookselling chain for pulling “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie from its shelves. Though no arrest was ever made in the incident, an FBI investigation concluded it was related to the Press’ defense of the novel. Iran’s then-spiritual leader issued a fatwa condemning the book as blasphemous and calling for Rushdie’s death.

A defiant Press published on schedule the day after the bombing with a front-page editorial headlines, “We will not be silenced.”

Nine years later, Press Editor Bernard Stein won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

Stein, who teaches journalism at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, will continue to write editorials for The Press, Cliff Richner said in the sales announcement.

Stuart Richner said that no immediate changes are planned at The Press.

“It’s a great newspaper, and we don’t see any reason to tamper with success,” he said in a statement. “We certainly expect to achieve certain efficiencies by combining the two organizations, but those will primarily be in the business office and in the production and distribution functions of The Press, and we expect any changes to occur gradually. All current Press staff members have been asked to continue in their current positions.”

Richner Communications publishes 16 editions of the Herald Community Newspapers; 10 editions of the PrimeTime Xpress shopping guide; The Jewish Star and several niche publications and affiliated Web sites, all on Long Island.

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