Plight of Local Journalism on Display in Neighboring County as Beloved Newspaper Heads to Auction

Image via David Swanson, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Reading Eagle, the newspaper that covers much of Berks County, is headed for auction, writes Bob Fernandez for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The newspaper – partly owned by two of the nation’s richest families, the Barbeys and DuPonts – has been losing $250,000 a month and will be auctioned off on May 17. However, according to newspaper officials, a local group of investors may be interested in bidding for it.

The paper where renowned novelist John Updike got his start owns modern presses in Reading, a sports-talk and news radio station, and an events-planning division.

Now, The Reading Eagle could be bought out of bankruptcy court by part owner and CEO Peter D. Barbey. Three years ago, Barbey subsidized the paper’s losses using his private firm, BWH Media, to acquire a $17 million troubled loan secured by The Reading Eagle.

According to bankruptcy documents, The Reading Eagle lost $4 million on $28 million in revenue last year.

“The only large pool of costs available to cut is in the newsroom, which cannot bear the millions of dollars of cuts,” the documents stated.

The paper circulates approximately 37,000 copies daily and 51,000 on Sundays.

Read more about The Reading Eagle in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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