Several iconic Connecticut newspapers, including The New Haven Register, The Middletown Press, and The Register Citizen, have a new owner. New York-based Hearst Media has announced it has cut a deal to acquire the Connecticut assets of Digital First Media.
As well as the three dailies, those properties include eight weekly newspapers and Connecticut Magazine. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The move considerably extends Hearst’s reach in Connecticut media. Its new properties have a combined weekly circulation of more than 470,000 households and a monthly digital reach of 1.4 million visitors.
Hearst is already the owner of The Connecticut Post, Greenwich Time, Danbury’s News-Times, and The Stamford Advocate, among others.
In a statement, Hearst president Mark Aldam said:
“this investment strengthens Hearst Newspapers’ commitment to local communities in Connecticut, and expands Hearst’s local media presence to eight daily titles, 11 weeklies and a robust collection of digital outlets within the state.”
“...The New Haven Register has a rich tradition for high-quality community journalism dating back to the Jackson family ownership era. By connecting our current Connecticut media assets across Fairfield County with The New Haven Register group, we expect to advance enterprise journalism across southern Connecticut.”
The question that the acquisition raises is what future Hearst envisions for the Digital First assets.
“The only companies that seem to be interested in newspapers are companies that can use their scale to consolidate operations and control costs,” said Professor Rich Hanley of Quinnipiac University.
“Hearst could take this one of two ways,” he told WNPR. “Consolidate operations, cut costs to the bone, and use these newspapers as almost bureaus. Or they could invest heavily into the digital side and go big in reporting. Because it now has the opportunity and the need to bolster its coverage of the state capitol and the representatives from these towns now under its umbrella.”