Hearst CT Media to acquire Meriden Record-Journal

Dec 18, 2023

MERIDEN, Connecticut — After more than a century and a half of independent, family ownership, the Record-Journal announced Nov. 27, 2023, that it reached a preliminary sales agreement with Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

Under the agreement, HCMG would take ownership of all print and digital operations of RJ Media Group, including the Record-Journal, its seven weekly publications and its digital advertising agency, according to Record-Journal Publisher Liz White Notarangelo.

Dirks, Van Essen & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is representing RJ Media Group in the transaction. Officials with both companies hope to finalize the acquisition in December. Terms were not disclosed.

White Notarangelo, the fifth generation of her family to lead the Record-Journal, shared the news with employees Monday, citing Hearst’s “ongoing commitment to strong local journalism” as well as a culture of innovation and serving communities.

“We feel it’s a great fit and next chapter for our family company,” White Notarangelo wrote in a column to readers Monday.

Mike DeLuca, group publisher and president of HCMG, said he was “thrilled to welcome the Record-Journal to the Hearst Connecticut Media Group family,” while “embracing a new chapter in journalism.”

“This union underscores our commitment to fostering strong local voices and delivering impactful stories that resonate with our communities,” DeLuca said.

In discussing the reasons for selling, White Notarangelo acknowledged the economic realities small publishers face amid seismic changes in the news industry over the last two decades, as well as the impact of the pandemic and continued disruption in the overall economy.

“Our company and our loyal team members have worked hard to innovate, evolve and transform our company over the years from a newspaper company to a multimedia company,” she wrote. “However, at this point, we’ve determined that being a single property, independent family-owned media company is no longer a sustainable business model for the Record-Journal.”

DeLuca said the move strengthens local journalism.

“With this news, we embark on a journey to elevate the essence of local journalism, fortifying our shared dedication to informing, inspiring and connecting the hearts of Connecticut,” he said. “We look forward to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead, amplifying our reach and influence in the pursuit of truth and community enrichment.”

The Record-Journal will retain its name and local presence serving communities in the greater Meriden-Wallingford area, according to both companies, while offering subscribers access to more statewide news, sports and features — including high-impact investigative journalism and UCONN basketball coverage.

Hearst Connecticut Media Group has seen dramatic subscription growth in recent years, while continuing to invest in news coverage.

HCMG launched the statewide website CT Insider in 2021 and last year expanded both state and local news coverage in Hartford County on its way to a goal of 100,000 print and digital subscribers in Connecticut.

The Hearst network consists of 16 websites, eight daily newspapers — including the Stamford Advocate, Connecticut Post and New Haven Register — and more than a dozen weekly news publications, with a total newsroom staff of around 170 people, the largest in the state.

DeLuca referenced shared values between HCMG and the Record-Journal.

“As we welcome the Record-Journal into the Hearst Connecticut Media Group family, we extend our deepest appreciation to the White family for their longstanding commitment to local journalism,” DeLuca said. “The White family's legacy, marked by a dedication to truth and community, aligns seamlessly with Hearst's values.

“We honor their enduring presence in shaping the narrative of Connecticut, and we are excited to build upon their rich tradition,” DeLuca said. “Together, we forge ahead, uniting our strengths to ensure the continued vibrancy of local storytelling, connecting with hearts and minds across Connecticut.”

Record-Journal President Eliot C. White addressed readers in a separate column Monday.

“The Hearst Company brings strong online resources that will help sustain the Record-Journal for years to come,” White said. “Their digital sales, advanced technologies, training and expertise together with their strong strategic news plan will benefit the community, readers and advertisers.”

HCMG most recently acquired the Journal Inquirer of Manchester in June.