A successful hyperlocal publishing company has been bought by an American media group in a deal which will boost local news in Norfolk.
Just Regional, founded in 2008, produces 10 monthly magazines, covering six Norfolk towns and four Norwich suburbs. Over those 13 years the company has grown, achieving national recognition for its service and products, which have led the field of local news publications.
In 2019, it caught the eye of US company Medici Media, which made an approach and after many months of negotiations a deal has now been finalised.
The acquisition of Just Regional will be the first foray into news publications for Medici Media, which procures and distributes news content worldwide, in addition to providing film project development support for animated, specialty and feature films, with offices in Plymouth, Chicago, Las Vegas and London. Medici Media intends on moving a portion of its operations to Aylsham which is close to Norwich.
CEO of Medici Media, Timothy Mucciante said he was impressed with the company and its products, saying he had never seen anything of a similar quality in the US.
“We had been wanting to start in the newspaper business and I realised there was nothing like Just Regional in America. The magazines look really good and there’s an obvious passion for local news.”
The Covid-19 pandemic delayed negotiations, but enabled Mr Mucciante to see how the company adapted to the conditions, moving its news coverage online and – unlike many larger, less agile media companies – retaining advertisers, readers and staff as a result.
“I’m delighted with the acquisition of Just Regional and looking forward to carrying on the great work that everyone has been doing,” he said.
Just Regional founder Lee Todd said: “This is going to be a great opportunity for local news and I am very pleased to be connected with Medici Media. We have moved with the times and are looking to continue with our excellent service to local communities.”
Mr Todd will be staying at the helm of the Aylsham-based operation, which employs nine office staff and over 100 distribution staff. Tracey Bagshaw will also be continuing in her role as group editor.
Mr Todd said: “Readers and advertisers will still be dealing with the same people with the same community values we have always had. That will never change.”