Cox Media Group has announced plans to sell its two Palm Beach County newspapers — The Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News.
The company also plans to sell the Austin-American Statesman and badociated Texas community newspapers.
In a report posted Tuesday morning on the Palm Beach Post’s website, Cox Media Group president Kim Guthrie was quoted as saying, “After careful consideration, we have made the difficult but strategic decision to put our newspapers in Palm Beach and Austin up for sale.”
Both Palm Beach County papers were acquired by Cox Enterprises in 1969.
In response to an email to Guthrie seeking further information, Cox Media Group communications director Andrew McGill declined to answer questions about the asking price, whether the papers are still profitable, and whether negotiations are currently under way with a potential purchaser.
But McGill provided a statement indicating the company intends to continue operating The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and several Ohio papers, including The Dayton Daily News:
“We are early in the sale process, and it’s currently business as usual at all of these newspapers. We strongly believe in the Fourth Estate and the value strong journalism plays in the nation’s democracy, but our company’s strategic business focus is changing. We have made the decision that we will be better equipped to operate our newspapers in Atlanta and Ohio, where we have the integrated opportunity with our TV and radio operations.”
The Palm Beach Post began in 1908 as a weekly newspaper, The Palm Beach County. It began publishing daily in 1916 and was merged with the company’s evening edition, The Evening Times, in 1987.
The Palm Beach Daily News began in 1897 as the Daily Lake Worth News. It was bankrolled by industrialist and railroad founder Henry Flagler to serve wealthy residents of the nascent island community and published on high-quality glossy paper so ink wouldn’t rub off on its readers’ finery.
The paper was renamed and the glossy paper stock was soon abandoned, but its nickname — The Shiny Sheet — has endured to this day.
Cox Media Group also owns dozens of radio stations and more than a dozen television stations.
In 2013, Cox Media Group sold four television stations — in El Paso, Texas; Johnstown/Altoona, Pennsylvania; Reno, Nevada, and Wheeling, West Virginia — to Sinclair Broadcasting, making Sinclair the largest owner/operator of television stations in the United States.