The Berkshire Eagle
The August 28, 1963 front page
of The Berkshire Eagle
|Owner(s)||New England Newspapers (John C. "Hans" Morris, Fredric Rutberg, Robert G. Wilmers, Judith C. Lipsey)|
|Founded||Daily since May 9, 1892, with weekly roots beginning with the Western Star, founded in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1789|
75 South Church Street,|
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201, United States
26,708 Sunday in 2012
The Berkshire Eagle is an American daily newspaper published in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and covering all of Berkshire County, as well as four New York communities near Pittsfield. It is considered a newspaper of record for Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Published daily since 1892, The Eagle has been owned since May 2, 2016 by a group of local Berkshire County investors, who purchased The Eagle and its three Vermont sister newspapers for an undisclosed sum from Digital First Media.
The Eagle's roots go back to a weekly newspaper, the Western Star, later known as the Berkshire Star, founded in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1789. After a number of changes in ownership, name, and location of publication, this paper became the Massachusetts Eagle in 1852. Eventually it became the Berkshire County Eagle, a weekly newspaper, and was purchased by Kelton Bedell Miller in 1891. The following year, on May 9, 1892, it commenced daily publication.
The Miller family retained ownership until 1995. The last publisher in the Miller family was Michael G. Miller, grandson of Kelton Bedell Miller, who founded the paper. Michael was then president of The Eagle Publishing Company which owned The Eagle, the Middletown Press in Middletown, Connecticut, and two daily newspapers in Vermont: the Bennington Banner and the Brattleboro Reformer, as well as a weekly newspaper, the Journal in Manchester, Vermont; his brother Mark C. Miller was editor of The Eagle, while brother Kelton B. Miller II was publisher of the Vermont newspapers. A sister, Margo Miller, a writer for The Boston Globe, sat on Eagle Publishing's board.
In 1989, the Millers chose to renovate, as a new headquarters and printing plant for their company, a former Sheaffer-Eaton stationery company paper converting factory in Pittsfield which an Eagle Publishing subsidiary purchased. The cost of the entire project—at $23.5 million for presses, land and renovations—did not seem unwise at the time because the regional economy was booming along with local real estate and the national economy.
However, by the time construction at the new headquarters was complete, the regional economy was feeling the effects of a recession. The Eagle's advertising revenues plummeted, and the local real estate boom went bust and the extra office space that the Millers had built into the renovated structure, space intended for renting out to help service company debt, was not attracting tenants. Revenues were insufficient to service the hefty eight-year, $17.9 million mortgage the company had taken out with State Street Bank and Trust Company in Boston in order to finance the new renovations and presses. 
The Millers sought relief by making it known in the industry that they were seeking a white knight — an outside investor with deep pockets who would help the Millers weather the current fiscal storm (the preferred alternative), or at the very least a buyer for the entire publishing group (so the Millers would not have to sell assets piecemeal and break-up the company).
In 1995, they accepted an offer from MediaNews Group, a company founded by William Dean Singleton of Denver, Colorado. Singleton agreed to purchase the assets of the Eagle Publishing Company, including all its newspaper and publishing properties and debt. .
The transaction closed on September 1, 1995. Simultaneously, MediaNews Group sold the Middletown Press to the Journal Register Company. The following year, MediaNews added the North Adams Transcript to its western New England holdings. In January 2014, the North Adams Transcript ceased operations.
In April 2016, a team of local investors bought The Eagle from Digital First Media, the new name of MediaNews Group. The investor team consists of former Visa Inc. President John C. "Hans" Morris, local retired judge Fredric D. Rutberg, M&T Bank Chairman Robert G. Wilmers and Stanford Lipsey, former publisher of The Buffalo News and former owner of The Sun Newspaper Group of Nebraska.
Eagle editorials since World War II have leaned slightly to the left of center, with support generally given to Democratic Party candidates (The last Republican presidential candidate endorsed by the paper was Wendell Willkie in 1940.). The editorial page editors, like most of New England, early-on railed against the War in Iraq, and were generally critical of Bush Administration's foreign and domestic policies.
Currently, The Berkshire Eagle costs $1.25 Monday through Saturday, and $2.00 on Sundays.
- "FAS-FAX Report: Circulation Averages for the Six Months Ended March 31, 2012". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- "For sale: Newspaper group, good assets, lot of debt." Vermont Business Magazine, February, 1995.
- "Berkshire Eagle Sale is Pending." Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette, August 8, 1995.