As announced in this morning’s Middletown Press, the Middletown Eye is now owned by the Press’s parent corporation, the Journal Register.
Negotiations for the hyperlocal news blog have been ongoing for the past year, according to a former columnist at the Press, Sherm Beinhorn: “The addition of the Eye to the Press gives us something that we haven’t had in several years, as a number of their reporters go to public meetings and write about them. The fact that the Eye writers are familiar with the history of the town, and even know some of the players – that just brings another layer to the story. We were already using the Eye reports as background information in our publication, and this just brings it to the next level.”
The purchase of the Eye is seen as a positive step for the bottom line at the for-profit Journal Register publication. Beinhorn said “When we learned that their reporters are volunteers, that really clinched the deal for us. Our Press reporters have historically been paid, but we think this is the future of journalism.”
The sale price was not announced, but one unnamed source stated that the purchase did not even involve a transfer of funds, but resulted from someone at the Press picking up the tab at Eli’s for a table of Eye reporters.
The sale of the Eye came as a surprise to some of the writers. “I didn’t even know that it was for sale,” said Karen Schwartz, who covers a range of issues for the blog, including the Conservation Commission and the menu at Café 56. “Sometimes they leave my name off the emails – I would have voted against this if asked.”
Writer Stephen DeVoto countered this charge: “The Eye is operated by an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.” He added, “This was not her week,” but he declined to name who had made the decision to sell the Eye.
More information about the transfer is available here.