Journal-Register papers go on the auction block after bankruptcy

It’s no cakewalk to work at a newspaper these days, or to own one.

The Yardley-based Journal Register Co, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September, will hit the auction block early next year.

The company operates the Delco Times, Pottstown Mercury, the Norristown Times-Herald and the Trentonian. It also operates papers in nine other states.

This is the company’s second bankruptcy in three years. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to continue to operate while trying to find ways to satisfy its creditors.

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In a blog post, the Journal Register’s Chief Executive Officer John Paton said the move to auction off the company was the right decision. He said the company has more than 160 million dollars in debt. Pensions are underfunded. Even with an agressive push for online audiences, anticipated revenues in 2012 come in at just half of what the company saw in 2005.

“Journal Register Company’s filing will have no impact on the day-to-day operation of Journal Register Company, Digital First Media or MediaNews Group during the sale process,” wrote Paton on the firm and its affiliates. “They will continue to operate their business and roll out new initiatives.”

The union representing the company’s Philadelphia-area newspaper employees says it hopes to begin contract negotiations with eventual new owners next year.

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