GULLIXSON: An update on what's changed at the PD

EDITOR: My wife and I have subscribed to The Press Democrat for many years. We chose the PD because of the editorial policy and contributors: a nice mixture of national, international and local news, vastly enriched by the contributions (both news and opinion) from the New York Times and Washington Post.

Watching carefully, I have not yet seen a big change in the paper since Halifax took over. However, I worry about what the future holds. ... Can you enlighten my wife and me concerning the direction of the paper?



Dear Mr. Little,

Thank you for your note. It's this kind of encouragement that keeps us committed to doing what we do every day.

I understand your concern about the change in ownership. It seems to me that we may have left you and other readers hanging about what has been occurring internally at The Press Democrat.

First, let me assure you that we are all still here, and the changes, for the most part, have been minimal.

Here's what has transpired so far: Halifax Media Holdings LLC completed the $143 million deal to buy The Press Democrat and 15 other regional newspapers from the New York Times Co. on Jan. 6. Michael Redding, CEO of Halifax, followed up with a visit here on Jan. 16 during which he held a town hall-style meeting with all employees. In short, he assured us that the company was committed to community newspapers and had no plans to sell us. Moreover, he said he believed in leaving the decisions concerning news and editorials to the publishers and editors at the local level.

Since then, it's been a time of transition, filling out paperwork as we shift to new insurance plans, set up new flex spending accounts, adapt to new procedures, etc. In many ways, we're all starting anew, but, thankfully, we're not starting from scratch. Not everything has been perfect. But all things considered, the changes so far have been far less significant than some had feared.

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