Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI) is an American publisher of newspapers and advertising-related publications throughout the United States. The company was formed in 1997 by Ralph Martin, and is based in Montgomery, Alabama (after moving from Birmingham, Alabama in September 2011). The company is financed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama and currently operates as a subsidiary of Raycom Media
The company has been formed by acquisitions. It started by acquiring many of the smaller former Park papers from Media General. Two years later, it bought several papers from Hollinger International. In 2000, it acquired another batch of papers from the Thomson Corporation.
In 2002, CNHI paid $182 million for 4 daily newspapers and other non-daily publications from Ottaway Newspapers Inc., the community newspaper group of Dow Jones & Co. Inc., that Ottaway had determined not to be growth markets. In 2006, the company acquired 6 more newspapers from Ottaway. Ottaway used $144 million of the 2002 sale to buy the Record newspaper in Stockton, California, in 2003. In September 2013, Dow Jones, which had renamed the properties as Dow Jones Local Media Group, sold the entire remaining group of 33 community newspapers to Newcastle Investment Corp. for a total of only $87 million. In 2007, CNHI sold the Santa Cruz Sentinel, a former Ottaway publication, to MediaNews Group.
As of 2006, CNHI owned 90 daily newspapers and more than 200 non-daily newspapers in 22 states. George Wakefield is CNHI chairman; Donna Barrett is president and CEO. CNHI newspapers are clustered in groups that cross-sell packages to advertisers and occasionally feature shared editorial content.
In 2009, CNHI implemented mandatory furloughs for most non-sales staff, requiring employees to take a mandatory week off without pay every quarter. As of 2015, these DOWOP (days off without pay) were still in effect. Also in 2014, most CNHI newspaper sites put a paywall into place, requiring readers to subscribe after reading 5 articles.
On June 24, 2010, the company announced that it would relocate its headquarters and about 70 jobs to Montgomery, Alabama, into the RSA Dexter Tower Building when that building is complete in late 2011 or early 2012. Like its former headquarters in Birmingham, the new building is owned by Retirement Systems of Alabama, which is the principal source of investment funding for CNHI. David G. Bronner, CEO of the RSA, said the move will be good for the community and the company. The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper reported that Bronner was a key player in the move. With CNHI's Birmingham lease expiring, the decision to bring the company to Montgomery "was something that I strongly suggested," he said, according to the newspaper. The city and Montgomery County offered $300,000 in incentives to pay moving costs for the company.
On September 25, 2017, Raycom Media announced that it would merge with CNHI. Both companies are already principally owned by Retirement Systems of Alabama, and there will be administrative and content synergies between the properties. CNHI will contine to operate as a subsidiary of Raycom. To comply with FCC newspaper cross-ownership restrictions, CNHI will divest papers in the seven markets where Raycom also owns television stations.
The Raycom/CNHI merger was welcomed by employees of CNHI. The first thing Raycom did was raise the mileage reembursement to 53.5 cents per mile, a huge lift for employees that have been on a salary freeze for years, even as everything else - especially gasoline - increases in price. However, shortly after the increase, it was announced that the mileage reembursement would return to 30 cents at the start of 2018, again showing CNHI employees how little they mean to the company.
CNHI tends to purchase smaller, less famous newspapers. Few of its dailies have circulations above 20,000; exceptions include:
- The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Massachusetts—49,700
- The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Pennsylvania—41,200
- The Joplin Globe of Joplin, Missouri—30,600
- Cumberland Times-News of Cumberland, Maryland—30,200
- The Salem News of Salem, Massachusetts—30,000
- The Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia—28,700
- Tribune-Star of Terre Haute, Indiana—27,900
- The Herald Bulletin of Anderson, Indiana—24,300
- Kokomo Tribune of Kokomo, Indiana—21,900
- Mankato Free Press of Mankato, Minnesota—21,700
- The Herald of Sharon, Pennsylvania—20,400
- Bluefield Daily Telegraph of Bluefield, West Virginia—20,400