Connecticut buyer saves Journal Register papers

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Two Connecticut daily newspapers that publisher Journal Register Co JRCO.PK planned to shut down will survive after the company found a buyer who pledged to keep them alive.

Michael Schroeder, owner of Central Connecticut Communications, will buy The Bristol Press and The Herald of New Britain, Connecticut for an undisclosed price from Journal Register, Editor Marc Levy said on Tuesday.

The price Schroeder paid was not disclosed, and Schroeder could not be reached for comment.

The papers, along with three weekly publications, were slated to be shut if the Journal Register did not find a buyer. The news prompted several Democratic Connecticut lawmakers to petition the state to help them find a buyer.

The state approached more than a dozen publishers to try to find someone to buy the papers, and offered the possibility of economic incentives such as tax breaks as a sweetener. [nN31313131]

That prompted debate among media experts and a number of conservative bloggers on whether government aid should be used to extend a lifeline to papers.

Some said that U.S. newspapers, whose future is in doubt because of heavy debt loads, a steep fall in advertising revenue and declining circulation, need some kind of government aid to help them survive.

Others said that government help to bail out newspapers would compromise the abilities of those papers to effectively cover governments and politicians because their workers would feel like it was harder to report negative news about the same people who helped them survive.

So far, there is no evidence that troubled U.S. newspaper publishers, which include the New York Times Co NYT.N, Lee Enterprises Inc LEE.N, McClatchy Co MNI.N, and others, are seeking any federal support for government aid. Privately, most newspaper executives say there is little support for such an idea.

Editing by Kim Coghill