After 21 years of running the River Journal, founder and Publisher Robert Bonvento has sold it to Alain Begun, a longtime media executive and owner of River Towns Media LLC. The purchase price was not disclosed.
“When I wrote that after 21 years of publishing, the sale of River Journal was a strong possibility, Alain contacted me right away,” Bonvento said in a statement. “After an extended meeting it was clear that he had all the requisites to take River Journal to the next level in print and online. I am confident he will be as dedicated to serving his readers and advertisers as I have been. He is the right man at the right time to move River Journal forward.”
Begun told the Business Journal he plans to invest in the publications, “especially in enhancing the website and adding a variety of other content areas to both the print and digital publication.”
He also said he might extend the River Journal’s circulation reach to include parts of Ossining in 2019. The publication is currently available free in Briarcliff Manor, Irvington, Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, as well as at riverjournalonline.com. He also said that he intends to increase the number of issues from 11 to 12.
No layoffs are planned, Begun said. “Everyone who is currently on staff – including the previous owner – are staying with the company until the end of the year to help with the transition and to get the November and December issues published. Going forward, all of our writers and our designer will be staying on. I have already hired one new salesperson who started this week and am looking to hire one additional sales rep. I will also be hiring a new website manager/developer as well as a new production designer to help put together the newspaper.”
A resident of Westchester County for 20 years, Begun said, “I’ve lived along the river from Yonkers to Ossining to Cortlandt Manor before moving to Briarcliff.”
In a letter to readers posted online, Begun said: “Over the next couple of months, we’ll produce and deliver the River Journal just like before. And in 2019, you’ll see even more about our schools (including our students and teachers!), local government, events and the issues and resources that make this area such a wonderful place to live, work and play.”
Until July, Begun had been vice president of marketing and custom content at GateHouse Media, the nation’s largest publisher of local news. It has 130 daily newspapers in 38 states.
Prior to his time with GateHouse, Begun was vice president of marketing of TVInsider.com TVGuide and AmpitLive and earlier had been with Meredith Corp., Time Inc. and Reader’s Digest Association.
Bonvento said he would return to writing and performing. Prior to founding the River Journal in 1997, he was a regular on the soap opera “All My Children” as well as appearing on TV and in film.