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)
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)
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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)
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