State of New Hampshire Backs Loan for Local Daily

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By: E&P Staff

The owner of the Eagle Times in Claremont, N.H., is getting a state-government backed loan. New Hampshire is guaranteeing 75% of a $250,000 loan from Connecticut River Bank for the Eagle Printing & Publishing Co. The guarantee is being administered under the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority.

John Gregg, a staff writer for the Valley News, reported that the terms of the loan carry an initial interest rate of 4.99% for the first year, adjusted monthly equal to the prime rate plus 1.25% thereafter.

The Eagle Times was in Chapter 7 in July, effectively shutting down the newspaper. Gregg said that 66 full-time workers and 29 part-time staffers were out of work. The paper was purchased in September and now employs 25 full-time staffers.

The state agreed to back the loan with the idea it would bring jobs back to the area.

Still, some observer’s have their eyebrows raised. Lou Ureneck, chairman of Boston University’s journalism department told Gregg: “It certainly creates the appearance and probably the reality of a conflict in the paper’s coverage of state government. It’s a tough and complicated issue, but this one sounds problematic to me.”

The loan is expected to close this week.

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