- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) - The Victorville Daily Press, Barstow Desert Dispatch and four Southern California weeklies have been purchased for $8 million by New Media Investment Group, one of the largest owners of newspapers in the country.

New Media bought the papers from Freedom Communications Inc., owner of The Orange County Register. The sale was announced in the Daily Press on Sunday.

Besides the two papers, New Media bought the Lucerne Valley Leader, Hesperia Star, Apple Valley Review and El Mojave.

The Victor Press printed its first weekly paper in October 1937. It grew, changed its name and added Sunday editions through the years. It has a circulation today of just over 18,000.

The Barstow paper has a circulation of just over 2,000.

GateHouse Media will manage the papers for New Media.

Freedom bought the Victorville paper in 1978 and the Dispatch in 1995. The papers joined forces on a Sunday edition called the Press Dispatch.

“We look forward to working closely with the New Media management team and being a part of a growing company that provides us the support and resources to enhance our products and services,” Daily Press Publisher Al Frattura said.

“The Victorville Daily Press and related publications meet the criteria we look for in an acquisition, including market size, a solid retail base, the opportunity to leverage New Media’s infrastructure to grow digital revenue and most importantly our financial hurdles,” said New Media CEO Mike Reed.

New Media owns 431 community publications, more than 400 related websites and Propel Marketing, a provider of digital services to small and midsize companies.

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