SouthComm buys Washington City Paper and Atlanta Creative Loafing

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City Paper was founded in 1981.
  • City Paper was founded in 1981.
SouthComm Inc., the Nashville-based owner of The Pitch, announced today that it has purchased Washington City Paper and Creative Loafing Atlanta. The company now owns eight alt-weeklies, in addition to several specialty publications.

Both City Paper and CL Atlanta were owned by investment firm Atalaya Capital Management, which in March stepped up efforts to sell the papers. Last fall, SouthComm bought CL Tampa and CL Charlotte from the firm. (SouthComm also purchased CityBeat in Cincinnati, not part of the CL chain, in March.)

In a statement announcing the transaction, SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell said, "Washington City Paper and Creative Loafing are two of the leading alt-weeklies in the country in two of the most influential cities in the world. I look forward to working with the staff in both markets to build on their legacy of strong news reporting and in-depth coverage of dining, music, arts, and culture."

Read the whole press release and Ferrell's note to the papers' staffs after the jump.

Press release:
NASHVILLE, TENN. (July 3, 2012) - SouthComm, Inc., announced that it has acquired the assets of Washington City Paper and Creative Loafing Atlanta from Creative Loafing, Inc. Last fall, SouthComm acquired Creative Loafing papers in Tampa and Charlotte from the same company.

"I am excited to welcome these two excellent papers to SouthComm," said SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell. "Washington City Paper and Creative Loafing are two of the leading alt-weeklies in the country in two of the most influential cities in the world. I look forward to working with the staff in both markets to build on their legacy of strong news reporting and in-depth coverage of dining, music, arts, and culture."

"At SouthComm, we know that readers look to our publications for information about what's going on in their city in both our print publications and on our digital platforms. Advertisers look to us to connect them to their clients and potential clients in print, online and in person. In cities across the Southeast and Midwest we are developing a model that fills the needs of both readers and advertisers by building around our weeklies a suite of niche publications and products. Atlanta and DC are larger cities than some of our other markets, but we think the same principles still apply. We believe relationships with readers and advertisers matter and we will try to uphold and build on the relationships these two papers have established over the years in Atlanta and D.C.," explained Ferrell.

About SouthComm Inc.
SouthComm was formed in late 2007 to operate regional niche publications. The Nashville-based company now owns more than 20 titles targeting general news, alternative, business, society and female audiences in Nashville, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Louisville, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Charlotte and Tampa as well the regional Medical News chain of papers. The company is the nation's second largest publisher of alternative weeklies. The company also owns Target Marketing and SouthComm Publishing, custom publishing companies serving chambers of commerce and other associations around the country. For more information, visit southcomm.com.

Letter to staffs:
Dear Creative Loafing and CityPaper Staff,

I am excited to welcome you to SouthComm. I hope after the last several years of transition that SouthComm will be a stable home for these papers for years to come. I first approached Atalaya about SouthComm acquiring these papers a few days after Creative Loafing filed for bankruptcy in 2008. I'm pleased it has finally come to fruition and hope you will be too.

I believe people who have declared the "death of print" are painting with too broad of a brush. The decline of large market daily papers is not the same thing as the death of print. In fact, the decline of dailies in our markets creates both an increased opportunity and an increased responsibility for weekly papers like the ones we operate. The relationship Creative Loafing and the CityPaper have with their readers and advertisers spans decades. That is a relationship that I believe can transcend platforms. We strive to deliver information to our readers the way they want to consume it and to deliver our readers to our advertisers in ways they can effectively reach them. As a result what we do in the cities where we work is more than produce a weekly paper. We do that, but we also have robust online offerings, events we produce, and other niche publications we publish online and in print.

I have told many people that there are undoubtedly easier ways to make a living than running alt-weeklies, but the truth is that I love these papers and what they mean to the cities in which they publish. You have the opportunity to shape the public discourse in your cities for the better. Whether writing about public policy, music, dining, or the fine arts, you have the opportunity to participate in making your cities a better place to live. On the sales side, you help the local economy be more vibrant by helping local businesses reach people who would love their services. Those are important missions that when done well, make our cities more livable communities.

I look forward to meeting you and working with you in the days and weeks to come.

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