Freedom Communications, Thomson Swap Newspapers


Freedom Communications Inc. said Monday that it will swap two newspapers, including one of its original publications, for three newspapers owned by Thomson Newspapers Corp.

Thomson will acquire the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, a daily in Ohio that Freedom founder R.C. Hoiles bought in 1927, and Dothan Progress Ltd., which publishes a free-circulation weekly and several shoppers in Dothan, Ala.

Irvine-based Freedom, parent of the Orange County Register, will take over Thomson’s Desert Dispatch in Barstow, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier in Illinois and the Sedalia Democrat in Missouri. Freedom will pay Thomson an undisclosed amount, said James N. Rosse, Freedom’s president and chief executive officer.


The acquisition of the Desert Dispatch, which has a circulation of 7,700, will give Freedom two newspapers in San Bernardino County. The company owns the Daily Press in Victorville.

The three Thomson papers are among 25 that the Toronto-based chain is attempting to sell as part of a reorganization effort. Newspaper analyst John Morton said many of the papers are in smaller markets that don’t attract large advertisers.

The deal is scheduled to close Aug. 31.