3 newspaper chains control dissemination of local news in Cedar Creek Lake area through tiny circulations
by David Webb
David Webb is a veteran journalist who has written for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. He is now a freelancer who lives in the Cedar Creek Lake area. He is the editor of cedarcreeklake.com. E-mail story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three publishing companies operating four newspapers with a combined estimated circulation of about only 12,000 serve as the primary gatekeepers for local news in the Cedar Creek Lake area's print media.
In Henderson County MediaOne LLC publishes The Monitor and The Malakoff News, which according to MondoTimes.com, a Website media directory, respectively circulate 3,640 and 814 newspapers each. The Monitor publishes twice weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays, and The Malakoff News publishes weekly on Friday.
MediaOne, which is owned by John Buzzetta of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, also publishes The Kerens Tribune in Navarro County west of the lake, which it acquired in 2007 from an individual publisher. Buzzetta also operates Van Zandt Newspapers, which covers Canton, Wills Point, Van, Quinlan and Lake Tawakoni.
Buzzetta is best known as the former owner of the Dallas Times Herald, which he sold in 1991 to the Belo Corp., the owner of The Dallas Morning News. The Belo Corp. immediately shut down the News' longtime competitor after buying it for $55 million.
With a circulation of 3,467 the Athens Daily Review owned by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., of Montgomery, Ala., publishes six days per week with no paper available on Saturdays. A sister paper known as the Cedar Creek Pilot published weekly in Gun Barrel City with a circulation of 2,739 until it was shut down Aug. 25, 2011, to curb costs.
Community Newspaper Holdings operates publications and television stations in 150 communities across the nation. It was founded in 1997.
In a story dated Aug. 7, 2011, about the impending closing of the Cedar Creek Pilot, The Monitor referred to its own circulation as 5,000, rather than the lesser figures reported by MondoTimes.com. The difference in the circulation figures possibly could be the estimated number of subscriptions The Monitor picked up with the closing of the Cedar Creek Pilot.
The Monitor noted that its shopper, The Lake Area Leader, is distributed free to 26,000 households and businesses in the immediate Cedar Creek Lake area. The Monitor identified the combined circulations of all of Buzzetta's newspapers in Henderson, Kaufman, Van Zandt and Navarro counties as a total of 120,000 households and businesses, but a large part of that appears to be the distribution of shoppers.
Hartman Newspapers, Inc., of Rosenberg, Texas, publishes The Kaufman Herald. The newspaper publishes weekly on Thursdays and has a circulation of 2,357. It is the sister publication of the Terrell Tribune.
Hartman Newspapers was founded in 1974 and operates a dozen daily, weekly and semi-weekly newspapers.
All of the newspapers in the Cedar Creek Lake area also publish Websites for residents to get their news. Media One, Van Zandt Newspapers and the Athens Daily Review Websites are free while the Hartman Newspapers' Websites require subscriptions.
The local newspapers operated by the chains in Henderson and Kaufman Counties apparently reach only a small fraction of the estimated 182,000 people living in those areas.
Newspapers have been hit especially hard by the nation's recession because of declining advertising and subscription revenues, and many are struggling to stay afloat with smaller staffs and operating budgets. Others are going out of business or being sold to newspaper chains.
Pictured below is John Buzzetta, president of MediaOne LLC
Tell us what you think!