Irving group acquires interest in Cadogan Publishing

New Brunswick newspaper, oil and lumber family, the Irvings, have acquired a minority interest in Cadogan Publishing Limited.

Cadogan Publishing owner David Cadogan, 60, made the announcement on Jan. 21, 2002. Cadogan publishing publishes the Miramichi (NB) Leader, Miramichi (NB) Weekend and the Sussex Kings County (NB) Record.

The acquisition includes an option to acquire the balance of the company shares in the future. The company also owns Miramichi Web Ltd., a web offset printing subsidiary that prints its own and other papers and other commercial work.

Jamie Irving, 24, will become the publisher of the Record. He is the great grandson of K.C. Irving, arguably New BrunswickÔÇÖs most-famous businessman. Jamie Irving holds a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University in New York.

The purchase will give the Irvings a foothold in the community newspaper industry. The Irving family already owns several dailies, including the Moncton Times and Transcript, The Telegraph Journal, and The Fredericton Daily Gleaner as well as many other businesses in Atlantic Canada.

Cadogan said one of the factors that lead to his decision to sell to the Irvings was that neither of his children have any interest in running the family business. ÔÇ£I have no intention of going anywhere for a while yet,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs possible that at some time in the future, they could acquire the balance of the shares and I could continue to work for the company. I do intend at some point to slow down, but I would like to keep my hand in as long as I can. Ultimately, what I would like to do is just have a column.ÔÇØ

Cadogan said he was not worried about the concentration of ownership that the purchase of his publishing company will establish. According to him, ownership consolidation is just a fact of life.

ÔÇ£I canÔÇÖt rule the world,ÔÇØ said Cadogan. ÔÇ£The chains are growing. The buying decisions are less and less being made on Main Street based on one newspaper. More and more chains of retailers, automotive dealers and whatnot are making group buys of media, not just newspapers.

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs groups dealing with groups. Like it or not, thereÔÇÖs nothing I can do about it; itÔÇÖs the world we live in. ItÔÇÖs not so different than the world of the past. Television and radio have been dealing in networks for years ÔÇô newspapers are sort of the last ones to the party,ÔÇØ he said.

Jamie Irving will spend a brief orientation period at the Record and then quickly take the reins as publisher. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖve been asked to mentor him and show him the ropes,ÔÇØ said Cadogan. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm going to have whatever influence I can on him, but my job is not what (the Irvings) have in mind for him. I suspect soon heÔÇÖll be moving somewhat further up the line.

ÔÇ£It may not be too long before IÔÇÖm reporting to him,ÔÇØ he said.

As for his staff, they have nothing to worry about as a result of the deal, said Cadogan. ÔÇ£TheyÔÇÖve known for years that the only job security any of us has is to have the most up to date skills on the most up to date equipment,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£TheyÔÇÖve embraced that idea enthusiastically. As a result, the only difference for them should be increased opportunity.ÔÇØ

Atlantic Community Newspaper Association President Paul MacNeill said the purchase was not surprising.
ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs a bit sad because although the era hasnÔÇÖt ended, itÔÇÖs clearly marked on the chalk board,ÔÇØ said MacNeill. ÔÇ£As far as IÔÇÖm concerned, Cadogan is the conscience of our industry.

ÔÇ£HeÔÇÖs not driven by the bottom line, although he is an astute businessman. His passion is writing and news and reflecting his community. His papers and his fatherÔÇÖs papers have always been the leaders in community journalism and doing what we do best,ÔÇØ he said.

About the Irvings, MacNeill said the familyÔÇÖs move into community newspapers might have mixed reactions. ÔÇ£I guess if you w