Scripps agrees to purchase Vero Beach Press Journal

Tue, August 26, 1997 by Rich Boehne

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The E.W. Scripps Company has reached an agreement to acquire the Vero Beach Press-Journal from John J. Schumann Jr., whose father and grandfather started the newspaper in 1926.The Press-Journal, with circulation of 33,000 daily, 35,000 on Sunday and household penetration of 70 percent, serves all of Indian River County on the east coast of central Florida.“We have coveted this newspaper and its market for many years,” said Lawrence A. Leser, chairman and chief executive officer of Scripps. “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth and development of that beautiful coastal community.”Indian River County has Florida’s fifth highest per capita income. It’s the long-time home of “Dodgertown,” a spring training and minor league facility owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In January, it became home to Disney’s first ocean beach resort and its first resort in Florida outside the Orlando area. Later this year, the doors will open at Indian River Mall, a 136-acre regional shopping complex anchored by at least four national retailers.“The Vero Beach Press-Journal is one of those rare gems in the newspaper industry,” said William R. Burleigh, president and chief operating officer.“The Schumann family has skillfully nurtured the paper and staffed it with professionals who are dedicated to quality journalism and community service.”Scripps is expected to assume ownership of the paper later this spring. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.The Vero Beach Press-Journal is the last daily newspaper in Florida wholly owned by a family.“I am confident the Press-Journal will serve its readers well in the future under the ownership of Scripps, a company whose motto is, ‘Give light and the people will find their own way,’” said John J. Schumann, Jr., owner and publisher. The Vero Beach newspaper will further enhance the Scripps presence in fast-growing Florida markets. The Company operates two other daily newspapers in Florida: The Stuart News, on the east coast about 30 miles south of Vero Beach, and the Naples Daily News on the southwest coast, as well as twice-weekly publications in Jupiter, Destin and Bonita Springs.On the television side, Scripps owns WFTS in Tampa, an ABC affiliate, and WPTV in West Palm Beach, an affiliate of the NBC network.The E.W. Scripps Company operates daily newspapers in 15 markets across the country; nine television stations; and cable television systems with 804,000 basic subscribers. Through its entertainment division Scripps operates: United Media, a worldwide syndicator and licensor of news features and comics; Scripps Howard Productions, a producer of television programming; Home & Garden Television, a 24-hour cable channel; and Cinetel Productions, a leading producer of programs for cable networks.