Lost amidst all the hubbub about Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Dow Jones is this little nugget: The little alternative weekly that could, the New York Press, got bought yesterday! Its new owners are "Manhattan Media." You may be familiar with their other publications, New York Family and AVENUE, not to mention a newish outfit called Our Town, Downtown. Doesn't that just sound so quaint! What's even quainter is that the new owners are going to merge Our Town, Downtown with the Press. Just when it seemed like it would be the perfect time for a real competitor to the New Times-ified Voice to emerge, the Press basically gets turned into a community paper. Then there are these reassuring words: "We also anticipate that most current New York Press employees will be joining the Manhattan Media family." (Does that include Martin Basroon, we wonder?) The full memo follows.
From: Tom Kelly Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 12:04 AM Subject: Manhattan Media Acquires The New York Press
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Rupert Murdoch may have snagged Dow Jones, but today Manhattan Media is buying the New York Press.
On the exact date that our company was formed six years ago with the acquisition of the Manhattan Newspaper Group, we are very pleased to welcome the Press into a portfolio which can now claim truly to be New York's leading community media company.
We have always been admirers of the rich history of the Press. As New Yorkers we watched the Press being born from the imagination and drive of Russ Smith in the late 80's with a dedicated, smart bunch of writers, editors and graphic artists. It really shook up the Village Voice's dominance of the alternative market. We've also watched it in more challenging times yet believe it's a strong and recognizable brand. It needs reviving and reinvention in a great city that's changed a lot, too, in the last twenty years.
It's our fourth attempt to buy the Press, the first being when we approached Russ shortly after 9/11. We knew that we needed to have a distinctive voice and presence downtown but couldn't wait for the Press
to become available on the right terms for us. So we launched our own weekly last May and we're incredibly proud of the work founding editor Bill Gunlocke and his team have performed in establishing Our Town Downtown in a short period of time. We're just as excited at the prospect of taking that team and merging it with the Press' writers and contributors to produce a better paper than either of us could have done individually. Now the resources are just going to be deeper and wider. We will publish next week as the New York Press.
The importance of independent reporting and opinion is even more important now in New York. We expect to invest considerably in editorial for the entire Community Newspaper Group. We also anticipate that most current New York Press employees will be joining the Manhattan Media family.
We have to thank Avalon Equity Fund, L.P., who owned the Press, for helping us to arrange for this transaction and doing all they could to assure a smooth transition.
The purchase of the New York Press is very much in line with our previous acquisition policy: finding media which have a long history serving their communities. In addition to the other titles in our weekly
community newspaper group, the Press joins AVENUE (coincidentally also acquired August 1, 2002) and New York Family. We also remain very committed to start-ups where they fill important gaps in the market - our launches of the Blackboard Awards and City Hall are excellent examples.
For all of you at Manhattan Media, this acquisition marks another step in the growth of our company. We remain absolutely committed to growing this company with a long-term view for the benefit of its shareholders, employees, clients and readers.