Press of Atlantic City is put up for sale

First its online content went behind a paywall – the first NJ newspaper to implement a digital paywall – in late 2011. And now the parent company of Press of Atlantic City, fourth-largest daily newspaper in New Jersey, has just  put the paper up for sale.

Among the papers Press of Atlantic City has had to compete with for South Jersey readership are Philadelphia Inquirer (owned by a group led by South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross), the Asbury Park Press,Courier-Post and the Vineland Daily Journal.

This may represent great change in the work lives of many good journalists and other employees. And it’s impossible not to grieve as yet another daily newspaper is in jeopardy.

In June, 2012, Press of Atlantic City put out a release with audit bureau figures showing the paper’s circulation was the only one of 16 dailies in New Jersey to show positive circulation growth over the two reporting periods covering October 2011 to March 2012, and more than 4 million page views of its on line editions, with half a million unique visitors.

The paper, which lists a daily circulation of just 70,000 (85,000 for Sunday edition) has published since 1895 under several names and owners. Current owner is a Pittsburgh-based holding company, ABARTA, Inc.. In an announcement posted on line at its site, the company’s president & CEO John F. Bitaer III said, “ABARTA’s investment priorities have always emphasized growth.” Family members have owned the paper for 60 years, Bitzer said, with four generations working in the business over that time. The company also has holdings in beverages, frozen food, energy, and technology. ABARTA owns The Press Media Group.  

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