Suburban Journals

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Suburban Journals
Type Chain of community newspapers
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Lee Enterprises
Founded Various
Headquarters 14522 South Outer 40 Road
Town and Country, Missouri 63017
 United States
Sister newspapers St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Official website suburbanjournals.stltoday.com

Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis is a group of publications in the St. Louis region owned by Lee Enterprises. The chain serves St. Louis and St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri and Madison County in Illinois.

It publishes community newspapers, the Ladue News, Savvy Family, St. Louis' Best Bridal and Feast. [1]

Publications are grouped in regional offices in Town and Country, Mo., and Collinsville, Illinois.

The chain for years was distributed to homes for free. The papers became subscription-only in November 2008.[1]

The chain's main competition are the Webster-Kirkwood Times and South County Times in Missouri and The Alton Telegraph, Edwardsville Intelligencer, and Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois.

Relationship with St. Louis Post-Dispatch[edit]

The newspapers are independent of the Lee-owned St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but share some resources, such a technical assistance and printing.[2]

The companies, which were previously owned by Pulitzer Inc., also share a common website, stltoday.com.

The papers are printed at the Pulitzer Publishing Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

Notable staff[edit]

  • Comedian Kathleen Madigan worked for the Suburban Journals for approximately 18 months in the late 1980s after graduation from SIU-Edwardsville.[3]
  • Steve Pokin, a reporter and columnist for the St. Charles Journal, in November 2007 broke the story of Megan Meier, a Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, teen who committed suicide after being scorned by a fictitious friend on the social networking site MySpace.[4]

History[edit]

Most of the publications currently owned by Suburban Journals date to the early 1900s as independent newspapers. Many were in direct competition with one another.

By the 1930s, the big adversaries in south St. Louis were the South Side Journal —renamed from the Cherokee News after Frank X. Bick bought it in 1933 — and 39th Street Neighborhood News, launched in the summer of 1922 ex-Post Dispatch composing room worker Bernard H. Nordmann.[6]

The two competed against each other until 1970, when the operations merged into St. Louis Suburban Newspapers. Bick's son, Frank C. Bick, helped shape the fledgling chain, which grew to include 10 publications in St. Louis and St. Louis, Jefferson and Franklin counties.

Meanwhile in northern St. Louis, Arthur M. Donnelly in 1935 bought the Wellston Local and rebranded it the Wellston Journal, focusing more on west and central areas of the city. Donnelly later shifted attention to norther St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Madison County in Illinois, eventually creating 33 papers.

All three operations were eventually merged into the Suburban Newspapers of Greater St. Louis. Circulation topped 820,000.[7]

In the early 1980s, the group was snapped up by Ingersoll Publications Co., a firm headed by Ralph Ingersoll II, whose father lead the innovative PM newspaper in 1940s New York City.[8]

Ingersoll, which wanted to compete with the Post-Dispatch and now defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat, used high-risk junk bonds to finance his acquisitions and eventually launched the failed St. Louis Sun.[9]

Ingersoll was bought out by his partner and financier, E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co., which formed the Journal Register Co., the owner of 25 daily newspapers, including the New Haven Register and Alton Telegraph. The chain became the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis.

In 1997, it bought the Ladue News.[10]

The company in 1999 had revenues of $151 million.[11]

Pulitzer, which owned the Post-Dispatch and 11 other daily newspapers, in June 2000 bought the company, which then had 38 papers.[12] It cost $165 million.[11]

Pulitzer then sold the group to Lee in summer 2005 for $1.46 billion.[13]

In early 2007, Lee reorganized the chain's management and eliminated publisher positions in the eight offices.[14]

When the chain was acquired as part of Pulitzer's purchase out by Lee in 2005, the Suburban Journals published 35 papers.[15] The bad economy, the effect of the Internet on the newspaper business and the weight of the debt Lee took on in the purchase of Pulitzer combined to force major layoffs and consolidation in the chain. In 2009, the chain was cut to 10 editions.[16] Additional cuts in 2011 brought the number of editions to six.[17] Two more editions were cut in 2013.[18]

Feast was launched in August 2010.[3]

Editions[edit]

  • Collinsville Herald
  • Granite City Press-Record
  • St. Charles County Suburban Journal (two editions)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • A 2001 Riverfront Times article about the relationship between the Post-Dispatch and Suburban Journals reporters [4]
  • An article about Ingersoll [5]

External links[edit]