Meet the new bosses!
Local-news moguls Les and Jennifer Goodstein are in the process of buying the Community Newspaper Group, the umbrella company that publishes the Brooklyn Courier Life papers, the TimesLedger of Queens, the Bronx Times, and several other weekly papers and specialty magazines, the husband-and-wife team announced to the assembled staff in the Brooklyn office on Monday morning. Jennifer Goodstein runs Manhattan’s Community Media newspaper chain and husband Les formed the Community Newspaper Group as an executive for the international media conglomerate News Corporation, overseeing it until his retirement in July 2013. But he could not stomach staying idle.
“When I left I said, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘The Terminator,’ ‘I’ll be back,’ ” Goodstein said. “It is incredibly gratifying to come back and run the operation I helped put together for News Corp.”
The sale is in progress and will be made official on July 1, he said. Among the most immediate changes in store is the renaming of the company from “Community Newspaper Group” to “Community News Group.” The new company will partner with News Corporation to continue publishing the outer-borough Weekly inserts that appear in the Sunday New York Post, Goodstein said. News Corporation sold the local papers for the same reason it sold a chain of New England papers last summer: to focus on big-name and online efforts, an executive said in a statement.
“This sale, like our divestiture of the Dow Jones Local Media Group, helps us reshape the News Corp portfolio as we achieve greater globalization and digitization of our businesses with an eye towards long-term growth,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive at the media giant. “We’re confident that these newspapers and magazines will prosper under the leadership of Les and Jennifer Goodstein.”
Before joining News Corporation in 2006, Les Goodstein had a 28-year-career with the Daily News in which he worked his way up to president and chief operating officer. At the meeting he said that the apparent belt-tightening at his former employer is a signal that the community newspaper and news website model is a winning one.
“You may have heard that today the Daily News raised its cover price from 75 cents to a buck and a quarter,” Goodstein said. “We now have Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx, and we are in a good position to grow.”
Also in store is a move by the Community Media Group’s Manhattan staff, which produces free neighborhood weeklies including The Villager and Downtown Express, to the Community News Group’s Downtown Brooklyn office in MetroTech Center. The Manhattan team worked out of the Brooklyn office for several months following Hurricane Sandy and Jennifer Goodstein said it was tough to convince them to leave.
“Some of the group had a hard time going back to the current office,” Goodstein said. “So I know they’ll enjoy being back.”
Les Goodstein closed by saying that the purchase was the culmination of a lifelong dream.
“My favorite movie is ‘Citizen Kane,’ ” the cinephile said. “And I always loved the part where he buys a newspaper. Aside from the whole personality part.”