Corporate owner of Atascadero News threatens ‘war’ on this newspaper
‘You want to go to war with us, we’ll go to war,’ says News Media Corp. President John Tompkins
News Media Corp. President John Tompkins, owner of the Atascadero News and more than 70 newspapers around the country, delivered a threatening message to Atascadero Daily News, Paso Robles Daily News and Access Publishing owner Scott Brennan.
“I just woke up and finally noticed what you are doing against us in Paso Robles, now Atascadero. You’ve got my attention now, so I’ll be coming after you, and personally,” Tompkins threatens in a voicemail to Brennan. “You want to go to war with us, we’ll go to war,” Tompkins says.
Brennan started the Paso Robles Daily News, a competitor of Tompkins’s Paso Robles Press, in October of 2012 to address a serious deficiency in local news, he says. “We started the Paso Robles Daily News to deliver news the way readers want it: timely, online, on Facebook, and for free,” Brennan says. Atascadero residents began asking for the same thing, he says, so he launched the Atascadero Daily News two months ago.
“This is clearly an attempt by a big media conglomerate to intimidate a local business and stifle an independent news source,” says Brennan. “We are not going to be bullied by some corporation from Chicago that thinks they have a monopoly on the news media in North San Luis Obispo County. We are working harder and doing a better job delivering timely, quality news.”
“Instead of competing in the marketplace, the owner of News Media Corp. decides to threaten us. It’s ridiculous. He called me to threaten our business and my family’s livelihood and I find that despicable,” Brennan says.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done with the Paso Robles Daily News and Atascadero Daily News,” Brennan says. “We’ve grown to over 3500 daily email subscribers, over 40 daily advertisers, and we publish more than 50 local news stories a week. Our competition doesn’t even come close to those numbers,” he says. “Last month our news sites had over 250,000 page views,” he says.
“I’m asking the local community to support us,” Brennan says. “You can choose to do business with a local family, or you can support an out-of-state bully who owns the Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News.”
Brennan worked for News Media Corp. from 1995 to 2006, before leaving to start a new company, Access Publishing, with his wife Beth. They live in Paso Robles where they are raising two children. Scott is a member of the Paso Robles Rotary and sits on the Paso Robles Planning Commission. Beth is a board member of the Paso Robles Children’s Museum and member of the Atascadero Rotary. In June, she was awarded Rotarian of the Year.
Access Publishing provides marketing opportunities for local businesses. It has 11 employees. The company offers online marketing, Internet advertising, web design, search engine optimization, article writing and graphic design. It creates magazines, guides and directories in San Luis Obispo County, including the Paso Robles Daily News, Atascadero Daily News, San Luis Obispo County Visitors Guide, North County Access phone book, Cambria Phone Book, Heritage Ranch Directory and Oak Shores Directory.
News Media Corp., Inc. publishes community newspapers for readers and advertisers in the United States. According to Bloomberg, the company was founded in 1975. It’s president is John C. Tompkins. It is headquartered in Rochelle, Illinois with locations in California, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Nebraska. It has press operations in Arizona, California, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, and Wyoming.