New Media Buys Erie-Based Times Publishing Co.

New Media Investment Group Inc. is buying Times Publishing Company, which owns Pennsylvania-based Erie Times-News and

The deal is expected to close in early 2016.

New Media is the New York-based holding company of GateHouse Media LLC, which controls 575 community publications in 32 states.

Times Publishing Company, not to be confused with the Florida-based Times Publishing Company, was previously owned by the Mead family for 127 years.

Ken Nelson, publisher of the Erie Times-News, commented that the media industry has “evolved to the point where family-owned, independent newspapers face too many hurdles to survive long-term without help."

Employees were first told about the pending sale during a meeting Monday morning.



John Mead Flanagin, chairman of the Times Publishing Company's board of directors, said the board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to accept the offer from GateHouse.

Flanagin said the board believes "this is the right time to adapt to the new environment and have the Erie Times-News and our digital businesses move into the future as part of a larger media organization."

The Erie Times-News has a circulation of about 40,000 daily and 55,000 on Sunday and serves the fourth-largest city in Pennsylvania.

The Mead family headed the newspaper until August 2003, when company vice president James E. Dible was promoted to CEO, president and publisher, succeeding the retiring Michael Mead, a grandson of the company founder.

Around the same time, Michael Mead's first cousin, Edward M. Mead, stepped down as editor, turning over leadership of the newsroom to executive editor Rick Sayers.

Just this March, Ed Mead, the former president, co-publisher, editor and columnist at the Erie Times-News, passed away at 88.

Big media companies buying smaller, local publications is becoming a national trend. For example, Publishers Daily previously reported Portland-based SagaCity Media acquired Gulfshore Media LLC’s Sarasota-based titles, including Sarasota Magazine, Biz (941), SEE Sarasota, Sarasota Health and Venice Magazine.
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