Adams Publishing & “Hyper-Local News”

    February 12, 2019


    “Who are the Adams family, and why are they buying newspapers by the dozen? Barely three years old, Minneapolis-based Adams has assembled a group of more than 100 small dailies, weeklies and shoppers in at least 15 separate transactions. In contrast to other big consolidators, they often leave existing management in place, do not impose cookie-cutter content templates, and do not start by stripping down newsrooms of editors and reporters. The bare-bones Adams Publishing website lists no main office executives or a phone number. Press releases about the series of acquisitions do not list an Adams contact. Estimates put the family’s net worth north of a billion dollars. In 2005, Steve Adams and his wife donated $100 million to the Yale School of Music. Minneapolis Star Tribune publisher Mike Klingensmith told me he had never heard of any of them until Adams Publishing began buying suburban weeklies in a ring around the Minneapolis metro in 2016.

    The attraction of newspapers? Adams mentions that they are out of favor and available at “low valuation multiples.” Local brands and exclusive local content have a bright future, Adams said. (His presentation makes no mention of digital, and the company’s website is illustrated with a stack of newspapers).

    In talking to the Inland group, Mark let drop that his is a “third-generation media family.” His grandfather, Cedric Adams, was a big local celebrity when I was growing up in Minneapolis with a popular radio show, a column in the Minneapolis Star and a lucrative sideline voicing national TV and radio ads.”

    Who are the Adams family, and why are they buying newspapers by the dozen?


    “Adams Publishing Group is launching a new Idaho newspaper in Bingham County, 5-days-per-week, Tuesday-Friday & Sunday. The Bingham County Chronicle will serve Aberdeen, Shelley, Firth, Fort Hall, Blackfoot and other towns, focusing on ‘hyper-local’ news. The announcement comes as many newspapers across the country have folded. But the downward trend in the news media economy is affecting organizations in larger markets more than community newspapers, said Eric Johnston, Adams Publishing Group’s west division president.”


    ‘Adams has raised funds for Republican Party candidates. He reportedly contributed over $1 (m) dollars of billboard advertising (through his Adams Outdoor Advertising business) to support Georg W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign [wikipedia].’

    TV stations should focus more on depth and emotion in stories, study suggests

    The study found, “The conventional wisdom is that news consumers want increasingly short, quickly digestible content. While this may be true in some contexts, our panel survey respondents offered a more complex picture of audience preferences on the spectrum of efficiency to depth. Indeed, asked to describe what their ideal local news program would look like, respondents fairly consistently chose depth over efficiency.”

    The study included viewers with an average age of 34 from six TV markets.

    • WLS in Chicago (market No. 3)

    • KNXV in Phoenix (market No. 12)

    • WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina (market No. 23)

    • WTVD in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina (market No. 25)

    • WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island (market No. 53)

    • WAFB in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (market No. 97)

    In most cases, the most emotional parts of the stories were moved higher in the pieces and the remixed stories included more context than the originals.

    The survey tested a story from WLS-Chicago about the Facebook data breach. The original story included soundbites with the state attorney general. The remix included some soundbites with two “Facebook users” who didn’t add any new information but did add some emotion to the story.  The remix also added moving graphics and a sort of “splat” sound on maps that — while it would make a lot of newspeople’s skin crawl — didn’t turn off the viewers the researchers head from.

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