The parent companies that produce C-Ville Weekly and The Hook are merging, undoing a corporate divorce that began in January 2002. The plan is just to merge the companies, not the publications, under the name of Charlottesville Publishing Group. There’s no way anybody saw this coming.
It was nine years ago when two of the three owners of C-Ville Weekly pushed out Hawes Spencer from Portico Publications. Within weeks, Spencer started The Hook, taking a bunch of employees with him, under the corporate aegis of Better Publications. That left Rob Jiranek and Bill Chapman with C-Ville Weekly, and the two publications as sometimes-bitter rivals. Jiranek left Portico Publications in 2006, and Portico’s expansion attempts failed earlier this year, just as Cathy Harding resigned as editor.
Presumably this merger will mean that the two businesses can save a lot of money by sharing resources—office space, advertising staff, distribution services, printing costs, etc. C-Ville Weekly currently lacks for an editor, after the departure of Harding, the editor who bridged the gap between Spencer’s departure and now. Between this new corporate arrangement and this opportunity to take C-Ville Weekly in a different editorial direction—for the love of all that is good and holy, axe “The Rant”—the C-Ville Weekly of 2012 could be very different than the C-Ville Weekly of today.
10:00 PM Update: Bill Chapman provides some clarifications and corrections. In a nutshell, Portico still exists—it now publishes the Free Times—and there are no plans to share staff or offices, but contracted work like distribution and printing are certainly areas where they intend to save some money.