US Rep. Houlahan 'hopeful' for Reading Eagle's future

 

The Reading Eagle newspaper has been in the hands of the same family for 150 years, but it's closer to having a new owner after it filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

A bankruptcy attorney said Colorado-based MediaNews Group, which is owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, submitted the only qualified bid ahead of this week's deadline. The bid hasn't been accepted or rejected.

"Alden, which owns Digital First, has a long history of buying newspapers and stripping them of their staff," said Jon Bekken, a professor of communications at Albright College in Reading.

Bekken has been looking into the background of the company, which also owns the Pottstown Mercury and Berks-Mont News. He started his search with a newspaper the company owns in Denver.

"The Reading Eagle has about as many staff as their newspaper in Denver, Colorado, has and Denver, of course, is a much bigger city," Bekken said.

Bekken said MediaNews Group tends to target certain markets.

"What they're doing is, they buy papers that have a monopoly in their market, the only 'daily'," said Bekken.

The Reading Eagle Company also owns WEEU 830 AM and The South Schuylkill News.

At Alvernia University, professor Jodi Radosh said she'll use these developments to teach students about the changing media landscape.

"I don't think that journalism is going to die," she said. "In fact, I think it will have a rebirth in some form. I think it will be different. Here at Alvernia, we are seeing a lot of students very interested in public relations, advertising and digital media, and we're actually launching a new digital media and marketing major in the fall."