Week of 7.17.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

ChildSafe Michigan Legends Gala

Legends were the story at the ChildSafe gala. But not the celebrity type. Rather at-risk  children and their dreams for becoming Legends of Tomorrow  –  a doctor, a ballerina, a teacher. To make those dreams come true, 310 supporters ($300) flocked to the Townsend Hotel for the annual benefit. Event co-chairs SuSu Sosnick and Christine & David Colman and board chair Keith Pomeroy greeted the 125 VIPs ($500) who arrived early for a reception in the Clancy Room before dinner, a salute to honoree Sandy Pierce  and a live auction conducted by Christopher Aslanian.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

July 2017

GET WELL SOON: We know others will join us in wishing Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson a speedy recovery after back surgery on June 1 in the green mountain state of North Carolina. Word is he had a pretty aggressive surgery to help him get out of the wheelchair he was finding himself bound to more and more, and one Republican said that he is already feeling better. Patterson was seriously ...more»
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Rise and fall of a newspaper

...continued from page 10

"I let the editors at each publication do what was important. I had good editors with Bill Thomas and Garry Gilbert," Shepherd said. "I let them do what they do best, and didn't interfere with what they did in the editorial process. I think they did a good job. I spent most of my time bringing in other papers and working on sales.

"The heart of a paper is editorial, and the life is the revenue, so I spent most of my time shoveling money in the front door."

When Shepherd purchased The Oakland Press in 1997, he said the paper was making about $10 million a year. By the time he sold it in 2004, he said he increased profits to about $18 million. The Lapeer paper was making about $4 million a year in profits.

"When I bought The Oakland Press, they only covered about half the county," he said about the paper's sales and circulation. "My first quote when I was interviewed was, 'I didn't buy half the county. We are going to expand into the whole county.' And I did that to get (sales) away from the Free Press and News.

"We were extremely successful in covering newspaper racks. Then we went after some of their editorial space and went after major accounts."

Shepherd said he increased profits by centralizing operations and sharing services among the papers. Printing became centralized in Lapeer, and two months after the purchase, he formed The Greater Detroit Newspaper Network. Operating as a separate business, the company focused on bringing in major national and regional advertising accounts, which brought in about $45 million in revenues each year in national accounts. Of that, he said about 70 percent of the revenue came from preprint ads, or inserts.

"The Oakland Press was the maraschino cherry on the sundae that drew the major accounts. It was the fifth largest daily in the state, and that got us in the door. Once we got in the door, we opened up our coat and there were all these other publications that would sell at a very low rate," he said. "That was our trick. It wasn't brain surgery."

While Shepherd said he hadn't considered selling 21st Century before 2003, Thomas said he believes his enthusiasm for owning the papers began to wane prior to then.

"He announced he was going to sell, and that took the wind out of everyone's sails. Then he came back and said he wasn't going to sell, so the staff that was excited got disenchanted," Thomas said. "Then, in fact, he did sell. So, the initial enthusiasm Frank (Shepherd) brought to it, in terms of staff, waned pretty quickly."

...continued on page 12
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