CherryRoad Media's 32-month journey: Revitalizing and rebirthing local newspapers in 18 states


In September of 2021CherryRoad Media, a Parsippany, New Jersey-based technology company, surprised the news media industry with its purchase of 20 newspapers from Gannett. Since then, the company has continued to grow and expand its US holdings, now owning 85 newspapers across 18 states.

Beyond purchasing existing titles, CherryRoad has also built new operations in some “news desert” communities who lost their local papers. Two of the most recent print/ digital “rebirths” were the mid-May 2024 launches of the Hutchinson (MN) Station and The Litchfield (MN) Rail, replacing the Hutchinson Leader and the Litchfield Independent Review, both stared in the 1880’s and announcing their closure in April of 2024.

Inaugural front pages of
Hutchinson (MN) Station and Litchfield (MN) Rail

“It's a good time for anybody who wants to get into this business, because there's a lot of sellers and not a lot of buyers, stated Jeremy Gulban, CEO of CherryRoad.

When asked about how he can maintain business profitability in his smallest market operation in Hamburg, Iowa (population 700), Gulban states he can apply a regional approach to serving the community through economies of scale. “We do reasonably well there because we're able to leverage our staff in Nebraska City, which is across the Missouri River, about 15 minutes away to provide coverage, and the support there to sell into the market,” stated Gulban. “If we didn't have that, it would be impossible. The math just wouldn't work.”

When asked about what’s it like managing so many small market newspapers, Lee Bachlet, CherryRoad COO stated: “I believe deeply that what we do is important, particularly in these small communities. I say all the time, if we are covering their volleyball matches, their city councils, their chicken dinner fundraisers, that means something.” Bachlet went on to add: “This is the best move I've made in many, many years, because what we're doing, I believe, matters and makes a difference.”

In their quest for sustainability, CherryRoad is exploring innovative revenue models. While advertising remains a cornerstone, they're also embracing audience revenue through a carefully crafted subscription strategy. With a newly rolled-out (homegrown) paywall system, CherryRoad aims to strike a balance between free access and premium content, tailored to each market's needs.

Furthermore, CherryRoad isn't just preserving existing newspapers; they're pioneering new products and services to support local communities. By acquiring a glossy press operation in Minnesota, they're expanding their offerings beyond traditional print. From niche publications to digital initiatives, CherryRoad is committed to meeting the evolving needs of readers and advertisers alike.

Despite the challenges, Jeremy Gulban remains optimistic about CherryRoad's future. “We're getting very close to turning the corner. I think in this month of May, we are going to have our first profitable month,” stated Gulban. “This has been a long slog. I think I was naive about how hard this would be to turn all this around. I do feel like we're in the place we want to be finally coming into the summer here.”

In this exclusive interview, E&P checks in with CherryRoad Media’s CEO Jeremy Gulban and COO Lee Bachlet to learn how this less than 3-years-old US media empire is faring with their 85 newspapers across 18 states. Topics covered include their recent acquisitions, revenue strategies and how they find profitability serving some markets with populations less than 1,000. We also explore their recent new title launches in several “news desert” communities.




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  • guilfordlady

    What are they doing to reach school children, elementary, middle, and high school ages?

    Monday, May 20 Report this