The Beacon, North Fulton Newspaper, Ceases Publication

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Beacon, a far right-wing newspaper that primarily served North Fulton County, but also had a statewide audience, has ceased print publication as of today, April 25, 2011, amidst a Chapter Seven bankruptcy filing.

The print news industry is struggling, with the Sunday Paper ceasing publication earlier this year.  What is surprising is the Beacon’s difficult financial situation, despite servicing the North Fulton market where, in some of the nation’s wealthiest zip codes, people and businesses have a lot of money to spend on advertising and subscriptions.

The Beacon was forced to file for bankruptcy protection on Friday, April 08, 2011, in the North Georgia District of U.S. Federal Court, after a creditor, which had won a judgment against the company, filed a lien against the company’s bank account and some of its accounts receivable.

The Beacon will continue to publish online for a few more weeks or months, in order to satisfy obligations to existing advertisers, but will eventually be phased out.  Because the company filed for Chapter Seven, the publication will eventually cease to exist, instead of being put up for sale.

Fredericks co-founded the newspaper in January 2007 with his wife, Anne.

The Beacon took on debt during the economic downtown, and despite having a sustainable recent five quarters, was unable to stave off its creditors.

The Beacon’s main competitors in terms of serving the North Fulton market, are three companies that each have a family of newspapers in cities throughout North Fulton.

Appen Newspapers publications include the Revue & News, the Johns Creek Herald, the Forsyth Herald, the Milton Herald, the Northside Woman, and AnswerBook.

The Neighbor Newspapers has numerous publications throughout Metro Atlanta, including several in North Fulton, such as Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell, and Sandy Springs.

The Reporter Newspapers has publications in Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs.

Fredericks tells Atlanta Progressive News he is considering starting a new publication in the future which would be an online-only, statewide publication; however, it would not be the Beacon.

Despite the extreme ideological differences between the Beacon and Atlanta Progressive News, the two publications have some non-intuitive similarities that led to a unique partnership between the two publications.  For example, APN is often at odds with the Democratic Party as often as the Beacon would be at odds with the Republican Party.

First, the Beacon began syndicating some of APN’s news articles in its print editions.  More recently, the publication began commissioning articles by APN’s News Editor–the present writer–which ran in the Beacon and were re-printed on APN.

“We had more in common, on opposite ends of the spectrum, because we took the most volatile issues, tackled them, went in depth and analyzed them; that cuts through the political spectrum,” Fredericks said in reflecting on the partnership between the two publications.

“A resignation is a resignation.  A lie is a lie.  A falsehood is a falsehood.  It’s not Conservative or Liberal,” Fredericks said.

“Editorially, we were as Conservative as you can get.  We felt editorially, that local government in particular, in our view, municipal government in part was the biggest threat to individual freedoms,” Fredericks said.

When asked if partnering with APN was an effort to bring another perspective to The Beacon, Fredericks said no.

“That was just getting involved with a very good, thorough investigative reporter and professional journalist that had an uncanny nose for exposing wrongdoing and getting to the bottom of the story,” he said.

The Beacon had a circulation of about ten thousand copies per weekly issue.  The majority of subscribers were paid or in a free trial in some areas.

The Beacon’s mission, according to Fredericks, was “to provide North Fulton county with a legitimate… journal that combined cutting-edge news analysis, thorough investigative reporting, and a Conservative editorial voice as an alternative to the downtown media liberals.”

“The print publication combined in-depth political coverage with the best all-around high school sports coverage in North Fulton,” Fredericks said.

“However, when you take very bold editorial stands and investigate local government and politicians, and cause major developers to fall, cause a police chief to resign, cause a multitude of local politicians to lose, over that time you would create your share of adversaries,” he said.

“We took on everybody: the City of Roswell, the City of Johns Creek, the Mayor of Johns Creek, the Roswell police chief, the Fulton County School Board, one of the biggest developers in Atlanta; we took everybody on, we never shied from a fight, multiple at a time.”

(END / 2011)

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