New Owners, New Direction

Bergen Newspaper Group Rises, As a Phoenix, From the Ashes

Take a foundering newspaper group, mix in dynamic new tech-savvy owners, add color and expanded local sports coverage, sprinkle in new features and puzzles, top it off with strategic web partnerships and a vision beyond the ordinary, and what do you have-the dynamic re-birth of the Bergen Newspaper Group.

From the ashes of a dying company a new media group has been born. The names are familiar-Bergen News, The Press Journal, Bergen Newspaper Group (BNG), but new ownership of this media company has breathed new life into these Bergen County institutions.

While much of the major media of the nation, particularly newspapers, are cutting staff and coverage the new Bergen Newspaper Group forges ahead increasing page counts by 100% while revamping the look of the papers and adding new features.

The new look of the Bergen News and The Press Journal is only the façade of a vibrant commitment of a new management team that has directed BNG and its publications in an exciting new growth direction. Purchased in November 2009, the new company name is Bergen Newspaper Group, LLC. It is a wholly own subsidiary of SFdeCordova Holdings, LLC.

The new management team consists of Chairman of the Board, Sergio Fernández de Córdova, President Abhishek Sharma and Chief Technical Officer Christopher Mattioli.

"My deep-rooted understanding of the industry has been shaped by years of experience with localized media. Connecting at the community level creates a unique bond that fosters a powerful appreciation for hometown content," says Fernández de Córdova. "The company builds on that alliance and evolves the local media platform by extending its presence into the digital medium. Focusing on intensive coverage, targeted advertising, and instant access make Bergen Newspaper Group a model of success."

Ripe with fresh ideas and a new media vision, the team has brought the Bergen Newspaper Group into the electronic age going from paste-up to pagination in a matter of weeks. The paper has gone full-color with higher quality reproduction offering expanded opportunities for local organizations to supply photos of their activities and their members.

In the weeks since the new management created a dramatic new look to the Bergen Newspaper Group papers, these three gentlemen have not only expanded and improved the BNG publications, but they have inspired a new esprit de corps that did not exist before the day of the changeover.

Part of these improvements include: expanded, local sports coverage, crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Additionally, the Bergen Newspaper Group has added local features such as Mayor's Corner, a forum for local community mayors to voice their opinions and keep their cities and towns abreast of events happening within their "backyards" that have an impact on their communities. The papers have also added Business Spotlight, a human interest feature that seeks to get to the heart and soul of the owners of the businesses it features by delving into the trials and struggles that the entrepreneurs had to endure in building the business and how he or she are coping in the current economic times.

"We look at things from a local community point of view," said Bergen Newspaper Group President Abhishek Sharma, "bringing local news and features about the communities and the people in the communities we serve. It's mostly about them. It's their backyard.

"We also provide them with other exciting features, and news that impacts their communities," he added.

An addition to the coverage offered by the re-born Bergen Newspaper Group is an exclusive alliance with the website PolitickerNJ.com, whose contents are, for the first time, available in print.

"PolitickerNJ.com is pleased to partner with The Bergen Newspaper Group to expand our coverage of government and politics in Bergen County and throughout North Jersey," said Christopher Barnes, president of Observer Media Group, parent company of PolitickerNJ.

"Many of New Jersey's most important legislators come from Bergen. The 2010 race for County Executive is one of the most important in the state, and local issues like the future of the Meadowlands and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority have already captured a statewide audience. We look forward to working with this respected chain of local newspapers," added Mr. Barnes.

PolitickerNJ.com is a "must read" for all politicians and citizens who want to know what's really going on in the citadels of government-the deals that are made behind closed doors.

This new Bergen Newspaper Group environment has also introduced two fashion pages through an alliance with StyleCaster. Starting with the January 13, 2010 issue of the Bergen News, fashion highlights from StyleCaster are now in print, for the first time, in every weekly issue of the Bergen Newspaper Group's papers.

Founded in 2008 and launched to the public in June 2009, StyleCaster has quickly grown to become the premiere platform for consumer engagement and integrated marketing activation in the women's lifestyle space. StyleCaster had more than 1.2 MM unique visitors in January (2010) and is currently the fastest growing site in the space. It did work with Polo, H&M, Target and Gilt in December and now has SmartWater sponsoring all of its Fashion Week coverage.

The new Bergen Newspaper Group also boasts expanded food coverage. In addition to providing featured recipes from local restaurants food news from Behind the Burner is now being served by the Bergen Newspaper Group.

Behind the Burner is an emerging culinary media brand that creates expert-based content about food, wine, mixology and nutrition. Packaging tips, tricks and techniques from master chefs, mixologists, restaurateurs and other culinary visionaries, Behind the Burner serves them to their viewers on behindtheburner.com in the form of videos, articles and blogs.

Behind the Burner serves many tricks of the trade and hot tips from sizzling chefs, and take food and wine enthusiasts worldwide behind the velvet ropes, exposing a world that only the most seasoned culinary veterans have witnessed. Now, the Bergen Newspaper Group adds this specialized culinary content to its weekly print coverage of local news and events of the Bergen and Hudson County communities it serves.

A newly designed, interactive website will be launched soon, as well."The new BergenNews.com will be a great extension of our newspapers," said CTO Christopher Mattioli.

"Readers will be able to sign up and choose a username. From there, they'll be able to comment on any BergenNews.com content, post their own photographs, video, writings etc. Readers will be able to rate all content. Highly rated reader content will be featured on the front pages of our sites," he added. The web site will expand on Bergen Newspaper Group newspaper content.

"We often choose from a number of good and interesting photos for each story in our newspapers," Mr. Mattioli said. "Online, we have the ability to post all of those photos."

Video features of local events and places will also be a big part of the new BergenNews.com. Advertisers can have professional quality video commercials which can be linked to their own websites.

Additionally, the Bergen Newspaper Group has added the Edgewater Residential to its cadre of papers. A monthly, currently serving Edgewater, it will soon become a weekly with expanded coverage into other towns. Founded in 1986, the Edgewater Residential is a well-respected Edgewater institution.

"We are proud to come under the umbrella of such a renowned newspaper group," said Edgewater Residential Publisher, Maria Estela de Veyga.

New publications are also being planned. The Bergen Newspaper Group management team is committed to bringing local news, and features to the communities it serves as well as providing quality vehicles for businesses to reach their buying public.

There are exciting new plans for the Bergen Newspaper Group, yet to be revealed that are for the moment best described in that famous quote from Al Jolson, "You ain't seen nothin' yet."


Categories: Lifestyles

Tags: Bergen County, Bergen News, new jersey


About Bergen Newspaper Group

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B. Rogers
Press Contact, Bergen Newspaper Group
Bergen Newspaper Group
P.O. Box 616
Palisades Park, NJ 07650