DorobekInsider: CQ sells, but Governing does not… and Governing’s publisher exits

Friday - 7/24/2009, 5:39pm EDT

We told you earlier this week about the Economist Group, the parent company of Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, buying Congressional Quarterly. And we told you to watch what happened with Governing magazine, which covers the state and local market.

In fact, we are learning that Governing ended up not being part of the Roll Call-CQ sale at all. Apparently Florida-based Times Publishing Company, which owns the St. Petersburg Times and used to own CQ, has put Governing back up for sale as a stand-alone product. And, in fact, we have confirmed that Governing’s publisher, Beth Bronder, has left, and that Peter Harkness, the founder and former publish of Governing, is taking the helm. (Read his bio from the Center for State & Local Government Excellence.)

Apparently the Economist Group was not interested in Governing. Governing covers the state and local market, which, given the troubles facing state and local governments right now, it will surprise nobody that it is not the best market right now. Most states are running in the red, California being the most glaring example. That being said, the state and local market seems to work on a counter cycle with the federal government — and it is a difficult market to enter given that there are 50 states and the District of Columbia, then you add counties and cities and tribal entities… it represents big bucks, but… it is also so diffused.

The state and local market is also dominated by an 800-pound gorillaGovernment Technology magazine. The challenge is that… well, Government Technology does a really good job covering the state and local market. It is very readable, almost always interesting, well edited, well published, well established… FCW tried to take on Government Technology twice with a publication called Civic.com, and GCN tried twice with a publication called State & Local. Neither are around today.

So… who might buy Governing? Chances are both Neil Vitale’s 1105 Media and David Bradley’s Atlantic Media Group, which owns Government Executive, might both be interested… if the price is right.

The question is where will Bronder will end up. Bronder is very well respected. She was named Governing’s publisher in May 2008.

We’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Tags: press