We have a new sib.
Today, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's parent company Euclid Media Group (EMG) announced the acquisition of the Louisville Eccentric Observer—aka LEO Weekly, a 30-year-old, award-winning alt-weekly.
The news comes just over a month after Executive Editor Aaron Yarmuth, son of LEO founder, former newspaper editor and U.S. Rep. J.D. Yarmuth, posted a column detailing how, after seven years leading the paper, he was looking for a buyer.
“ ...in order for LEO to truly reach its potential, it’s going to need fresh spirit, ideas, resources and someone who can commit all their energy and focus into its success,” he wrote. “Not someone who can’t wait to finish editing so he can go chase his 2-year-old.”
Yarmuth, who said the alt-weekly was looking for someone to help it claw back from the pandemic, asked for short proposals (750 words, max) and added that special consideration would be given to potential buyers who “enhance LEO’s future and presence in the community, value creativity, ingenuity and the eccentric spirit, engage the community, protect and enable LEO’s amazing staff to produce the best damn paper in the city, and demonstrate an overriding commitment to having fun.”
“All offers will be seriously considered — there is no minimum offer,” he wrote.
In a press release, EMG—which also owns Orlando Weekly, San Antonio Current, Cleveland Scene, Detroit Metro Times, Cincinnati City Beat, St. Louis Riverfront Times—lauded LEO staff for guiding the company through the last 16 months at a time when the city was thirsty for local journalism. EMG also plans on retaining all LEO staff and anticipates “hiring additional talent in the coming months.”
“Looking forward, Euclid Media Group anticipates ushering in fresh print, digital and event marketing strategies,” the release said.
“LEO Weekly is essential to the Louisville community and through the support of the amazing staff and now adding targeted resources, we believe we have a bright future ahead,” Chris Keating, Chief Operating Officer of Euclid Media Group, wrote.
Yarmuth, who’s yet to reply to an inquiry from CL, wrote, “I believe Euclid Media Group’s history, network of media properties, and vision are ideal for LEO to reach its potential. I also appreciate their desire to maintain and build upon the talented, dedicated staff.”
In a phone call, Managing Editor Scott Recker told CL that Yarmuth kept LEO’s three-person full-time editorial team in the loop, so news of the sale wasn’t a surprise. As far as he knows all staff will stay in their positions, but Recker said he’s excited about the possibility of injecting new resources into the paper in the near future.
“It’s human nature to be worried about ourselves,” Recker added when asked about getting today’s news on the same day LEO goes to print. Like so many other newspapers across the U.S. the pandemic put a strain on LEO’s resources. “But we’re obviously happy that the paper is gonna stay alive.”
“Everyone here deeply loves the paper,” Recker said. “Louisville has great journalism, and LEO has its own legacy within that. There’s a brilliant art scene, brilliant activists, and on the other side of that coin, we have a lot of problematic leaders, systems and power structures—being able to continue covering that and our community is important.”
UPDATED: 06/22/21 6 p.m. Updated with comments from Managing Editor Scott Recker.
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