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Morning News publisher to take same post in New Jersey

BH Media adds another daily newspaper

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 6:59 pm

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. — Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is adding a New Jersey newspaper, The Press of Atlantic City, to its collection of more than two dozen small and medium-sized newspapers. BH Media has hired Mark Blum, currently publisher of the Morning News, to take over that role at The Press when the sale closes.

Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire said Thursday it's buying the Press from Abarta, which is a private Pittsburgh firm held by the Taylor and Bitzer families.

"The Press is one of New Jersey's finest newspapers, and its digital presence is dominant. All of us at BH Media are very excited to become associated with a newspaper and a community like The Press and South Jersey," Blum said.

The Press will be Berkshire's 31st daily newspaper. It has a daily circulation of 67,000 and a Sunday circulation of 77,000 and is based in Pleasantville, just outside the shore resort community of Atlantic City, best known for its casino industry.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The sale is expected to close in August, the company said.

Blum has been with the Morning News since December 2010. Before that, Blum had been publisher of The Sentinel in Carlisle, Pa., since June 2004. While there, he grew circulation and led the newspaper to a Lee Enterprises’ Innovation Award. Blum was controller of The Press from 1989 to 1993.

"Although I'm excited about my new position as publisher in Atlantic City, it comes with a sincere reluctance to leave all of the great people I've come to know and work with in Florence. My wife and I have truly enjoyed our time in Florence and will always have a special place in our hearts for it," Blum said.

Buffett has said he thinks smaller papers like the ones Berkshire is buying will do well because they remain the primary source of information about their communities.

But Buffett said the newspapers will do little to help Berkshire's profits because they are relatively small compared to the total conglomerate.

BH Media has been purchasing small- and medium-sized, community-oriented newspapers since December 2011.

"We're delighted to have The Press of Atlantic City join our growing family of newspapers," said Terry Kroeger, CEO of BH Media Group. "We look forward to the opportunity to continue the tradition of community-minded journalism carried on by the Bitzer/Taylor family for over 50 years. We also want to welcome the Atlantic City employees to our company and are looking forward to working with them. We are pleased to have Mark Blum, who has done a great job for us as publisher at the Morning News, take on this new role as publisher of The Press of Atlantic City."

Abarta, whose main businesses are in soft drinks, oil and gas exploration and ethnic frozen food, announced earlier this year it was selling the newspaper because it wanted to focus on businesses with higher growth potential.

The Press announced a 15 percent cut in its workforce in April as part of an effort to improve its finances ahead of a sale.

The newspaper traces its roots to The Daily Press, begun in 1895. It moved from Atlantic City to Pleasantville in 1970.

The Press of Atlantic City contributed to this report.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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