Cox Newspapers keeps its nose to the news grindstone. One of the nation's top newspaper businesses, the company publishes about 10 dailies including the Austin American-Statesman (Texas), Dayton Daily News (Ohio), and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Its portfolio also includes several non-daily newspapers mostly in Texas and Ohio. Its Cox News Service is a leading news syndication network serving more than 650 customers around the world. In addition, the company operates more than 100 online properties, including websites for its papers. Cox Newspapers is part of Cox Media Group, a unit of conglomerate Cox Enterprises.
Cox Enterprises reorganized its broadcasting and publishing units in 2009, forming Cox Media Group to oversee its portfolio of television stations and radio stations (Cox Radio), as well as Cox Newspapers. Longtime newspaper chief Sandy Schwartz was tapped to lead the new division; Doug Franklin, previously publisher of the Palm Beach Post, took over the newspaper operation. The reorganization came at time of declining revenue for many of Cox's media properties and the company hopes it can boost revenue through greater integration.
The company's newspapers, in particular, have struggled with declining circulation as readership turns to other forms of media for news. Cox put all but three of its papers up for sale during 2009 in an effort to cut costs and dispose of under-performing properties. It plans to retain the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Palm Beach Post (Florida), and the Dayton Daily News and to make online publishing the primary focus of those news organizations.
Among the papers sold off during 2009 were more than a dozen properties in North Carolina, including The Daily Reflector (Greenville) and Rocky Mount Telegram (Elizabeth City). Florida-based Cooke Communications purchased the papers. Houston-based Southern Newspapers purchased two small Texas papers, The Lufkin Daily News and The Daily Sentinel (Nacogdoches), that same year. Cox also sold its Saving Source Direct unit to MailSouth in 2009 and has put up for sale its Valpak direct mail advertising unit. It plans to use the proceeds from the disposals to pay down debt and for new business investments. – less