Paddock Publications Inc. publishers of the Daily Herald, has acquired three newspapers in southern Illinois, bringing its total in the region to 15, the company announced Thursday.
In the latest move of an active growth and diversification strategy, the Arlington Heights-based media company purchased the Carbondale Times, Weekend Times and Nightlife. All are weekly newspapers with a combined distribution of 20,000. The deal also included Thomas Publishing's "robust commercial printing and niche publication business," said Daily Herald Publisher and CEO Douglas K. Ray.
"It was an excellent fit for us and broadens our portfolio to now include the region's largest community," Ray said. "We believe this new critical mass will serve readers and advertisers in ways not done in the past. We will offer a commitment to local journalism, targeted marketing opportunities, special events, printing and an innovative digital presence. All this will connect the communities to one another and at the same time focus on content that is specific to each community."
Paddock began acquiring newspapers in southern Illinois last summer. They included five small weekday newspapers: the Benton Evening News, The Daily Register in Harrisburg, The Daily Republican in Marion, Du Quoin Evening Call and Eldorado Daily Journal. Also included were seven nearby weeklies formerly owned by GateHouse Media LLC.
Ray said that the Carbondale-based newspapers acquired Thursday "broaden our reach in the region," as Carbondale is the largest community, the marketing center for southern Illinois and home of Southern Illinois University.
"This acquisition is in keeping with Paddock's strategy for growth, which includes the purchase of select community newspapers and niche products where Paddock's brand of community journalism and marketing innovation provide additive revenues and profitability," Ray said. "It also includes growing niches like commercial printing, digital sales, strategic marketing and Town Square Publications."
In addition to the papers in southern Illinois, Paddock also purchased four weekly newspapers just south of Springfield last winter -- in Farmersville, Girard, Palmyra and Virden.
The diversification strategy has allowed the Daily Herald to avoid the sweeping cost reductions taking place at newspapers nationwide and has helped maintain news coverage at the level that Daily Herald subscribers have come to expect, Ray added.
Closing on the purchase of the newspapers took place Wednesday. Paddock assumed control of the properties on Thursday.