Publishers Clifford and Stuart Richner announced July 10 that Richner Communications has agreed to acquire L&M Publications, a Long Island weekly newspaper group that includes Merrick Life, Bellmore Life, the Freeport-Baldwin Leader and the Wantagh-Seaford Citizen. Both Richner Communications and L&M are privately held companies, and terms of the sale were not announced. The sale is expected to close this quarter.
Stuart Richner said that the acquisition would expand the reach of the Herald Community Newspapers, the company’s 15-paper group, across the South Shore and solidify its place as the Town of Hempstead’s leading community news outlet.
“It’s a strategically sound move for us,” said Cliff Richner. “It strengthens our presence in the Freeport, Merrick and Bellmore communities and extends our reach eastward into Wantagh and Seaford, something we’ve been wanting to do for some time. It will enable us to better meet the needs of our advertisers.”
“It’s great to be a part of Richner Communications and watch the company grow throughout the years,” said Rhonda Glickman, RCI’s vice president of sales. “This new acquisition will give us even greater strength. I look forward to meeting people in our new territories.”
L&M’s flagship newspaper, Merrick Life, was founded in 1938. Faith and Johannes Laursen, both daily newspaper journalists, purchased it in 1958, adding Bellmore Life, the Freeport-Baldwin Leader and Wantagh-Seaford Citizen to their newspaper mix. Their daughter, Linda Toscano, has led the papers for many years as publisher, while her brother, Paul Laursen, has served as editor.
“We want to thank all of our staff, our family of subscribers as well as our advertisers and community activists for 55 years,” Toscano said. “Together we helped make a difference, raising railroad tracks, founding needed social services and cultural organizations, preserving land for future generations, building better business districts, informing voters and chronicling the very fabric of our lives. We trust our newspapers will each continue to be ‘the glue that helps hold a community together and the spur that helps keep it moving forward.’
“How do we know this?” Toscano continued. “Because the Richner family also has its roots steeped in printer’s ink. Like my father, Cliff Richner is a former president of the New York Press Association, the professional organization that has kept community journalism alive in New York state. Herald Community Newspapers are the second largest employers of print journalists on Long Island. They are also out front in online journalism with responsible news reporting.”
Paul Laursen added, “We have always admired the professionalism and community service of the Herald newspapers, and considered them worthy competitors who share our goals. We can count on Stuart and Clifford to ably continue our efforts to serve these South Shore communities.”
Cliff Richner offered high praise for the Laursen family. “I’ve always admired their fierce independence and devotion to their local communities,” he said. “Faith Laursen was a force of nature in Merrick and Bellmore, and someone I considered a mentor when I came to the community newspaper business.
“We hope to continue and strengthen their tradition of community leadership,” Richner added.
The Herald Community Newspapers have their own strong tradition of independent-minded journalism with a local focus. The papers have long been known for their top-quality journalism and advertising, as well as their political independence.
The Heralds have won hundreds of awards from local, state and national press associations in recent years, often for their outspoken stands on community issues. In the past 20 years, they have taken home the New York Press Association’s most prestigious honor, its annual Community Leadership Award, a dozen times. Whether fighting to close a polluting power plant or to preserve Long Island’s dwindling open spaces and scenic wetlands, the Heralds have frequently been cited as a catalyst for community action.
Also a family affair, Richner Communications was founded by Robert and Edith Richner, parents of the current publishers, with the purchase of the Nassau Herald, which serves the Five Towns, and the Rockaway Journal in 1964. The papers trace their roots to the founding of the Journal 1n 1883.
In addition to the 15 Herald Newspapers, Garden City-based Richner Communications publishes the Oyster Bay Guardian, The Jewish Star and The Riverdale Press in the Bronx, and their affiliated websites. The company also publishes PrimeTime Xpress, a weekly shopping guide with 10 editions on the South Shore, and Xpress Coups, a quarterly coupon book. Richner is also a leading commercial printer of newspapers and other periodicals in the greater New York area.
The Richners are also principal owners of Broad Street Media, which publishes weekly newspapers and shoppers in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Jersey, and the New Jersey Marketeer, a shopping publication in northern New Jersey.