By Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register
Media giant Hearst added to its Connecticut holdings Monday, acquiring Digital First Media's properties in the state, including the New Haven Register and Connecticut Magazine.
Terms of the deal with Denver-based Digital First's parent company, 21st Century Media Newspapers, were not released. In addition to the Register and Connecticut Magazine, Hearst's purchase includes The Register Citizen in Torrington and The Middletown Press, eight weekly newspapers and the accompanying digital sites for all of the print products.
It is Hearst's second Connecticut acquisition in the past year. Hearst purchased The Hour, of Norwalk, in 2016.
The print and digital assets in Monday's deal reach more than 470,000 households combined and 1.4 million unique online visitors, according to a news release.
Hearst Newspapers now publishes 22 daily newspapers and 64 weeklies nationwide.
The print and digital assets in Wednesday's deal reach more than 470,000 households combined and 1.4 million unique online visitors, according to a news release. They extend Hearst Connecticut Media Group's news operations, advertising services and audience reach across New Haven, Middlesex and Litchfield counties.
Connecticut Magazine, based in New Haven, has covered news around the state since 1971.
This investment strengthens Hearst Newspapers' commitment to local communities in Connecticut, and expands Hearst's local media presence, Mark Aldam, Hearst Newspapers' president, said in a statement.
The former Digital First weekly newspapers in the deal are:
The Post-Chronicle, covering Hamden and North Haven.
The Milford-Orange Bulletin.
The ShoreLine Times.
The Dolphin in Groton.
The West Hartford News.
The Foothills Trader in Torrington.
The Litchfield County Times.
The Fairfield & Westport Minuteman.
The New Haven Register, which dates to 1812, is the largest of the newly acquired publications. Formerly owned by the Jackson family, the paper was later acquired by the Journal Register Co..
Journal Register teamed with MediaNews Group to form Digital First in 2011. MediaNews was a former owner of the Connecticut Post.
Paul Barbetta is group publisher and president of Hearst Connecticut Media Group. He will oversee business and news operations for the latest acquisitions.
This will be an exciting time for all of us as we welcome our new colleagues and publications into our group, Barbetta said in a statement. Such an acquisition demonstrates our commitment to our brand and our company to readers, to advertisers and to the community.
Mayor Toni Harp said the news of the deal is reassuring to city officials.
It is in the city's best interest to have stability and consistency at the New Haven Register going forward, Harp said in a statement. It's a vital cog in a democratic process utterly dependent upon an informed citizenry. Over the 40-plus years I've lived in New Haven, I've come to rely on the Register's comprehensive coverage of the city and I welcome this new chapter in the history of the paper.
Aldam said the Register has a rich tradition for high-quality community journalism dating back to the Jackson family ownership era.
By connecting our current Connecticut media assets across Fairfield County with the New Haven Register group, we expect to advance enterprise journalism across southern Connecticut, he said.
Rich Hanley, associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, said the deal is likely to bolster the Register's news coverage, particularly in the Shoreline suburbs east of New Haven.
Hearst has a lot of resources that it can bring to bear in that area, Hanley said. I expect them to invest heavily in technology in the areas the Register serves, not only in terms of news coverage, but also in advertising and circulation.
Adding three more daily newspapers to its Connecticut roster gives Hearst even greater influence with the state's political leaders, according to Jerry Dunklee, a journalism professor at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.