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Dispatch editor resigns

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Ben Marrison, editor of The Columbus Dispatch for more than 15 years, announced his resignation on Wednesday. This Friday will be his last day on the job. The move comes just weeks after the sale of the newspaper to a New York-based media investment firm. Employees received the news at an afternoon meeting. Marrison told his team that the choice to leave was his.

I’ve long believed that when a newspaper changes publishers, the editor should step aside to allow the new publisher complete freedom to implement his or her vision. With the recent ownership change at The Dispatch, I believe it is the right thing to do.

– Ben Marrison, Columbus Dispatch editor

The publication’s managing editor. Alan Miller, will take the top job on an interim basis.  (jj)

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Previous: The high cost of buying a newspaper 6/16/15

New Media Investment Group, new owners of the Dispatch Print Company (The Columbus Dispatch and its associated magazines, land properties and other weekly newspapers) say that the purchase is now complete. Final cost…$47 million.  (jj)

[symple_button url=”http://www.nbc4i.com/story/29327064/dispatch-sale-finalized-for-47-million” color=”red” button_target=”_blank”]More at NBC4[/symple_button]


Previous: Dispatch employees meet the new boss 6/5/15

One of the biggest news stories this week has centered around one entity that typically does the reporting. The idea that the Columbus Dispatch would be sold is not a new notion, but when it finally happened, the shock caught many by surprise….including staffers.

New Media is the New York-based ownership group coming in and CEO Mike Reed spoke to employees in Columbus on Thursday. Staffers asked about the possibility or likelihood of layoffs. Reportedly, they were told that no decisions had been made as of yet, but once the deal goes through, management would be looking at the ranks. Some positions probably will be eliminated, but its unclear as to what departments and how many people will be affected.

The folks working at the publisher’s magazine properties (Columbus Monthly for example), may feel a little breathing room. New Media may want to take a close look at those for possible replication in other cities.  (jj)

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Previous: Paper cut: Wolfe family sells Columbus Dispatch 6/3/15

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Local media moguls the Wolfe family, owners of the Dispatch Printing Company, WBNS 10TV, WBNS AM & FM and other media holdings, announced plans today to sell The Columbus Dispatch and all of the company’s print holdings to a media investment firm from New York. Terms of the deal were not released. This does not affect properties other than the Dispatch publications…those will be maintained by the Wolfes.

“We are proud of our 110-year legacy of family ownership of The Dispatch, and the newspaper’s heritage of quality journalism and community involvement. However, the past two decades of accelerating and challenging change in the newspaper industry made it clear to us that maintaining a single-city, family-owned paper in this environment was untenable long-term.”

– John F. Wolfe, Columbus Dispatch chairman / publisher

The Dispatch’s new owner, New Media Investment Group, holds 550 publications in 32 states including 126 daily newspapers.

“We deeply admire The Dispatch’s involvement in the community’s development under the stewardship of the Wolfe family, and we at New Media are proud to be the new owners of this business, and look forward to continuing the tradition.”

– Michael E. Reed, New Media president / CEO

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Sonic seeks re-do after local employees’ “f*ck you”

Mike Thomas

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In February, conflict surrounding a change in ownership of central Ohio Sonic Drive-In locations led to mass-walkouts by Sonic employees. The exodus was accompanied by at least two profanity-strewn letters penned by disgruntled staff, found taped to the glass doors of area Sonic locations:

Photo courtesy of Scioto Post

Now, Sonic President Christina Vaughan says it was all a big misunderstanding.

In an article posted by Columbus Business First, Vaughan claims that the embittered employees’ decision to quit was based on “unfortunate misinformation.”

The issues began when Sonic’s corporate headquarters took ownership of 10 central Ohio restaurant locations from previous franchisees. According to Vaughan, area Sonic locations had been understaffed under their previous owners. Apparently, bringing on new crew led to unrest among veteran Sonic employees, who felt they were being passed over for opportunities in the company.

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Additionally, some Sonic employees were under the impression that their wages would be cut under the new owner—a concern that Vaughan now claims was unfounded. “100% of employees are making the same, if not more, now,” she told Business First.

Though Sonic did close two central Ohio restaurants—Groveport and Whitehall—neither of those locations had protesting employees.

Going forward, Sonic looks to improve its standing in the Columbus market through operational and technological improvements. Stalls in central Ohio restaurants will soon feature Sonic’s new interactive screen system, which can be connected to the Sonic smartphone app.

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Columbus Zoo lends a flipper to 2 orphaned manatees

Mike Thomas

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Is it just us, or is a stop at Manatee Coast the highlight of any trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium?

If you love these adorable sea-cows as much as we do, you’ll be pleased to learn that two new additions have joined the gang, or aggregation if we’re talking scientifically. As part of the Zoo’s continuing efforts to rehabilitate orphaned and injured manatees, orphans Bananatee and Tostone were welcomed to Manatee Coast early this morning.

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For more details, check out this post from the Zoo’s Facebook page:

Here’s wishing the new manatees and their keepers the best of luck in their rehabilitation efforts. We can’t wait to get back to the zoo to see these guys for ourselves!

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Update: Tree bar to reopen following “emergency” renovations

Mike Thomas

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UPDATE: Given the numerous unsubstantiated stories circulating around the unexpected closure of local venue Tree bar last weekend, we’d like to take this opportunity to share an update posted today on the bar’s Facebook page:

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In spite of rumors to the contrary, we’re glad to see that Tree Bar will continue on in a new and improved form. Here’s to many more years of fun in this much-loved venue.

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