published Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Georgia newspaper files for Chapter 11

News Publishing Co.

Headquarters: Rome, Ga.

Owner: Mooney family in Rome

History: Started in 1928 by Burgett H. Mooney Sr.

Daily newspaper: Rome News-Tribune

Other newspapers: The wekly Rockmart Journal bought in 1980; twice-weekly Calhoun Times acquired in 1986; weekly Cherokee County, Ala., Herald and twice-weekly Cedartown Standard bought in 1988; twice-weekly Walker County Messenger bought in 1988; weekly Catoosa County News bought in 1990. News Publishing also prints several weekly free-distribution publications

Staff: 225 employees at 10 publications

ROME, Ga. — The parent company of the Rome News-Tribune, Catoosa County News and Walker County Messenger has filed a Chapter 11 petition to reorganize under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court.

Tuesday's filing is aimed at guaranteeing the business will continue, News Publishing Co. President Burgett H. Mooney III said in a story by the Rome News-Tribune. He said the publishing firm will be a stronger company as a result.

News Publishing Co. owns 10 newspapers in Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama

"Our newspaper is going to continue as always," Rome News-Tribune Publisher Otis Taybon told employees. "We're going to come out in better shape than we went into it. ... We will cover and report local news and events just as our readers and advertisers expect."

In its initial Chapter 11 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Northern Georgia, Carrollton, Ga., attorney J. Nevin Smith listed more than $9 million in debts owed by the News Publishing Co., most of which were unsecured.

Nearly half of the debt is a guarantee by the newspaper of a promissory note from Rome Hosiery LLC, an affiliate company of the Mooney family.

In a news story about the bankruptcy filing in the Rome News-Tribune, Mooney said the newspaper industry has endured financial challenges for the past several years.

"We're not immune to that, we've got to restructure our business and that's what we're doing," Mooney said. "Since we've gone through what we've gone through in the economic climate today, it's very important to take this step and do the restructuring so that we can reflect what's possible with the level of business that we can generate now."

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