Area papers continue to see effects of recession
by Matt Shinall
Jul 11, 2012 | 3110 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Area newspapers have recently seen many changes, including the relocation of offices for The Bartow Neighbor and recent news of foreclosure on the buildings housing The Rome News-Tribune. Matt Shinall/The Daily Tribune News
Area newspapers have recently seen many changes, including the relocation of offices for The Bartow Neighbor and recent news of foreclosure on the buildings housing The Rome News-Tribune. Matt Shinall/The Daily Tribune News
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With foreclosure rates remaining high across the nation, recent news has surfaced of a foreclosure filing affecting News Publishing Co., a large regional news company and owner of Rome News-Tribune.

The Rome News-Tribune reported Tuesday foreclosure procedures had begun on properties owned by Rome Hosiery Mills, owner of properties occupied by Rome News.

In the article, Rome News-Tribune said the foreclosure filing will have no impact on business as leases are in place for buildings on the Rome campus. Other tracts, including current home of The Calhoun Times, also owned by News Publishing Company, also will have little effect. The Calhoun Times already had announced its plans to move physical location.

Online sources, however, have raised concern over the regional news organization, owning 10 publications with some 200 employees across north Georgia, due to shared management figures between the publishing company and the building owner. As confirmed by the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, B. H. Mooney III is listed as registered agent for both Rome Hosiery Mills LLC and News Publishing Co., although for the latter the registered agent is listed as Mooney, B. H. III.

According to the Floyd County Tax Commissioner’s website, Rome Hosiery Mills has between $30,000 and $60,000 in back taxes with the difference made in temporary bills on property under appeal. News Publishing Co. has in excess of $20,000 of unpaid taxes on record, although all outstanding payments for the company are temporary bills on property under appeal.

The Rome News-Tribune declined to comment.

Within Bartow County, the offices of The Bartow Neighbor, a weekly paper provided by Neighbor Newspapers, were recently relocated to Hiram, consolidating offices with Douglas and Paulding county publications.

“In an effort to reduce costs we consolidated our Bartow offices with our sister publication in Hiram. Our staff, circulation and coverage remain unchanged along with our commitment to being Bartow County’s premier source for local news and high school sports,” said Neighbor Newspaper Managing Editor Brian Clark.

Economic pressure has been felt by nearly every business sector and newspapers across the nation have seen their share of cutbacks. In Anniston, Ala., the Anniston Star will drop their Monday paper in October.

Adapting to changing demand, The Daily Tribune News adopted a Tuesday through Sunday publication schedule in April. Publisher Johnette Dawson outlined other steps taken to weather the economic storm.

“Since the first indications of a downturn in the economy, we began price shopping and comparing all products and services purchased to prepare for tougher times. As the economy has worsened, we have eliminated any unnecessary expenses; price shopped and bargained for any goods or services we could; utilized unpaid furlough time for employees; and, in some instances, have not replaced terminated/resigned personnel. With declining circulation prominent throughout the newspaper industry, subscription increases have not been put into place but the news rack prices for the Sunday edition were raised by 25 cents each in April,” Dawson said. “Additionally, our building and personal property are paid for so we have no lien or payment on them. We do make every effort to repair instead of replace broken machinery. To keep up with industry demands for current technology and our aging computer systems, we are preparing now to undergo a complete overhaul and replacement of our production system at the end of this month. Fortunately, we had several months to preplan and set aside funds so that even this major purchase will be a cash deal, not financed.  

“We live frugally and attempt to make the wisest use possible of all resources, but without the community’s continued support in advertising and subscription dollars even we could not survive.”