Burgett H. Mooney III, president of the company, said that by filing the Chapter 11 documents, it guarantees that the business will continue.
“News Publishing Co. will come out of this as a stronger company on the backside than it is today,” said Mooney. “There are no excuses; we’re not going to make any.”
News Publishing Co. can trace its roots to Nov. 1, 1928, when the late Burgett H. Mooney Sr., the late T. B. Goodwin, each of Gadsden, Ala., and the late William S. Mudd, of Birmingham, purchased the Rome News-Tribune.
News Publishing Co. acquired the Rockmart Journal in 1980, the Calhoun Times in 1986, the Cedartown Standard and Walker County Messenger in 1988 and the Catoosa County News in 1990.
The petition does not impact Cherokee Publishing Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of News Publishing Co., which publishes the Cherokee County Herald in Centre, Alabama.
We’ll have to present a reorganization plan to the court in the next six months or so,” Mooney told employees Monday afternoon. “Whatever happens will be good for the employees. The whole key is that we will do business as usual.”
Mooney said that the entire newspaper industry has had challenges for the last several years. “We’re not immune to that, we’ve got to restructure our business and that’s what we’re doing,” Mooney said.
Rome News-Tribune Publisher Otis Raybon told the employees, “Our newspaper is going to continue as always. We’re going to come out in better shape than we went into it.
“Our newspapers will continue as always. We will cover and report local news and events just as our readers and advertisers expect,” Raybon said. “We will provide the best local news available in both home delivery print and single copy, and on our individual newspaper websites. Our company will emerge from this reorganization period better prepared to serve our communities.”
The list of top unsecured creditors includes Northwest Georgia Capital LLC., $4,040,000; United Community Bank, $885,998.86; Citizens First Bank, $860,628.17 and Greater Rome Bank, $824,639.00.
The Floyd County Tax Commissioner is owed $34,113.97 for taxes on personal property, equipment and inventory.
The News Publishing Pension Plan is owed $783,876 however Mooney said the pension plan is fully insured through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. News Publishing Co. currently employs a staff of 157, excluding carriers who are independent contractors.
Mooney, while declining to speculate what the company might look like when it emerges from the reorganization, said he understands the paper’s responsibility and importance to the community.
“What’s important is that it (the community newspaper) is the only entity left than can or will expend the resources to cover the community completely,” Mooney said. “You cannot start a business structure today, from the ground up, that can replace the community newspaper.”
“It’s important that this business continue as a business to a lot of people, but to the community, too” Mooney said. “Since we’ve gone through what we’ve gone through in the economic climate today, it’s very important to take this step and do the restructuring so that we can reflect what’s possible with the level of business that we can generate now.”