April 18, 2018

Ocean Gold Media, LLC acquires Queens Tribune and The Press of Southeast Queens, announces new hires and promotions

QUEENS, N.Y. — The sale of the TribCo, LLC — publishers of weekly newspapers the Queens Tribune and The Press of Southeast Queens — was formally announced at the publication’s annual “Women of Distinction” awards held Tuesday at Douglaston Manor, which featured a keynote address by New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. The company was purchased by Ocean Gold Media, a newly formed media group owned and operated by Chairman William Ruggiero, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Holt and Counsel Michael Tobman. Ocean Gold has offices in Whitestone and Long Island City in Queens, and Industry City in Brooklyn.

The Queens Tribune, the corporation’s flagship publication, was founded in 1970 by former Congressman Gary Ackerman as what has long been billed as “The Paper of Record for Queens.” Over its nearly 50 year history in the market, the Tribune has featured bylines from the omnipresent Azi Paybarah, well-known author Mitch Albom, well-known Queens journalist Lisa Colangelo, the Wall Street Journal’s Jeremy Olshan, Hank Sheinkopf and more.

William Ruggiero, the Chairman of Ocean Gold Media, LLC, started his professional career in community service, and nonprofit housing and urban development. Ruggiero has since been involved in boutique and large-scale development projects from Staten Island to DUMBO. Ruggiero has tasked Andrew Holt with day-to-day operations and growth strategy, with his capacity as Chairman focusing on areas of expansion involving hospitality, construction and finance. “Connecting with this unbelievably talented team, with decades of collective experience, is an opportunity anyone would want to invest in. The vision these guys have laid out, and the clear need for expansive coverage of issues important to New Yorkers, myself included, make my involvement and buy-in on this easy-to-understand. We look forward to seeing how we can expand beyond the core business from day one,” said Ruggiero of the acquisition and new venture.

Andrew Holt, the former Publisher of City & State magazine, joins Ocean Gold Media as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a shareholder. Holt grew up around community newspapers, watching his father’s work as the co-Publisher of Courier-Life (CNG), one of the largest chains of community weeklies in New York City, before the group was sold to News Corporation in 2005. “I look forward to building on the decades of award-winning work that has gone into the Queens Tribune and The Press of Southeast Queens, and see tremendous opportunity ahead of us to dramatically expand our reach and impact by punching up the print, launching new and innovative editorial projects, and hosting both boutique and large-scale events. Layering in the in-house creative agency as part of the project, a model that has worked well in Europe with Monocle and Holiday Magazine, is something I am very excited about. I think folks will be very surprised at what is in store,” Holt said. (aholtnyc@gmail.com, @andyaholt)

Michael Nussbaum will retain the title of Publisher under the new ownership. Nussbaum has had a long career in public service and media, and is a lifelong resident of the borough. “The Queens Tribune and The Press of Southeast Queens have long and deep ties in Queens, across the five boroughs, and into Albany,” Nussbaum said. “I am looking forward to the exciting new changes in the coming months and years that will see our reach expand; our print, digital and events grow in ambition; and a renewed effort to use our editorials to shape positive change in the corridors of power across New York — all as we continue to cover the events, culture, health care and business news, and goings on that Queens families want to know about.” (Publisher@queenstribune.com)

As part of this acquisition Jasmin Freeman, formerly the Vice President of Strategy at City & State, will assume the role of Publisher and majority owner of the Press of the Southeast Queens — which will be expanding into a revamped and rebranded citywide newsmagazine in the coming months. “New York City is desperate for a strong voice for cultural, social and political issues impacting people of color from across our great city. There is tremendous opportunity to launch new and innovative events and digital platforms, with some exciting changes ahead for the print publication. I am also honored to join such important historical publications as the Amsterdam News and El Diario la Prensa, as well as newer outlets like Blavity and Geeks of Color in covering community and national news in earnest.” (jasminafreeman@gmail.com, @JfreemanPress)

Michael Johnson, the former Executive Producer of Capital Tonight, and Editorial Director of City & State, will be joining Ocean Gold Media as Executive Director of News. Michael’s deep understanding of how New York works, his experience running New York’s pre-eminent political show, and the largest political magazine in the state, will enhance the Queens Tribune and Press of Southeast Queens across all aspects of coverage. A resident of Flushing, Michael also has a first hand understanding of the issues important to Queens residents including transportation, housing and immigration. “I am excited to work with a talented team of colleagues to highlight the rich history, complex politics, cultural diversity, and intriguing personalities throughout the borough. I look forward to educating and entertaining our audience through print, podcasts and compelling events while utilizing the latest media trends.” said Johnson. (michaelgarethjohnson@gmail.com, @MGJohnson24)

Gerson Borrero, the former Editor-in-Chief of El Diario la Prensa, current NY1 and NY1 Noticias political commentator and the political editor and host of Estudio DC at HITN, a spanish language outlet connecting 100 million people in the United States, will assume the role of Editor-at-Large. In this role Gerson will be bring his popular “Bochinche & Buzz” column into the fold with the best news and gossip ranging from politics to culture, social issues and beyond. Borrero will also assist in a larger effort to bring on experienced and diverse voices on editorial boards for Ocean Gold Media’s publications. (gersonborrero@gmail.com, @gersonborrero)

In addition to being the Publisher of New York Jewish Life, which is now part of the Ocean Gold Media family of publications, Michael Tobman will assume the role of Counsel to Ocean Gold Media, as well as being a shareholder focusing on operations, expansion, and acquisitions. He was formerly Deputy Counsel and then Chief of Staff to the Nassau County Legislature, and a former Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for US Senator Charles Schumer. “I’m thrilled to be working with this top shelf team on the many, many projects we are undertaking,” said Tobman, “particularly a newly refocused New York Jewish Life magazine, which will be reformatted as a monthly magazine. With so much political upheaval across the country and globally, now is the time to have serious, sober, centrist reportage on issues of importance to Jewish communities in New York and beyond.” (michael.tobman@gmail.com, @mdtobman)

Guillaume Federighi will be joining as Executive Creative Director of Ocean Gold Media, LLC. In this role, Gui will manage the creative and production processes across all the Ocean Gold brands. He joins after a successful four years as Creative Director of City & State magazine in New York and Pennsylvania, and brings additional print and online media experience that includes Bleu Magazine and The Real Deal. Federighi will also launch and manage Tribune Studios, a new and separate division of the company that will operate as an in-house advertising and public relations agency providing creative, content and production services to business, advocacy groups and political campaigns. ”Excited to bring my talents in media and design to this exciting new project. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.” Coming from France, and spending time in New York and California, Gui has worked with major brands including Nestle Waters, Perrier, Heineken, BP, Keller Williams, W Hotels, and San Pellegrino. He resides in the Ridgewood area of Queens. (geefederighi@gmail.com, @gee_federighi)

Dylan Forsberg, a prominent fashion and lifestyle photographer and founder of Transmission Magazine will be signing on as Photo Editor for Ocean Gold Media and Tribune Studios. Through his own magazine and others, Dylan has photographed and featured some of the most prominent models in the world, including names such as Kasia Struss, Lindsey Wixson and Elsa Hosk. He has shot and produced editorials and commercial photography for major international outlets such as Vogue China, Dazed & Confused and Last Magazine as well as being commissioned by well-known brands such as Chanel, Cote & Ciel, and Madewell for creative direction, photography and custom publishing. About the new venture, Forsberg commented, “I am excited to bring my vision and the relationships I’ve formed to this new project. What has attracted me most is it’s limitless potential for expansion. With the team that’s being put together, I see no end to what we can accomplish.” (dylan.forsberg@gmail.com, @DylanForsberg)

Shanie Persaud-Adeen, previously the Associate Publisher at TribCo, LLC, will now be elevated into the role of Vice President of Advertising and Events across Ocean Gold Media, LLC. A long-time Queens resident, Shanie cut her teeth in news at the largest newspaper in her native Guyana. After several years as an on-air news presenter, she left to head expansion efforts for the state media company in Guyana. Persaud-Adeen has worked for TribCo since 2002, taking breaks over the past two decades to form her own Guyanese weekly newspaper and expand her work for community and charitable causes in the borough. Persaud-Adeen said of the new responsibility and opportunity, “I am a go-getter and I love the action. We have grown a lot since 2002, but there is so much potential to do more, especially with people like Jasmin and others joining The Press. It is an exciting time to be in Queens!” (spersaud@queenstribune.com)

There will be more information released in the coming weeks. For media or business inquiries contact aholtnyc@gmail.com.


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