The Two River Times, a weekly local newspaper covering affluent towns on along the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, was sold earlier this month. On July 11, Domenic M. DiPiero III of Rumson, bought the quirky community newspaper from its previous owner, Michael “Mickey” Gooch.
According to the a story in the TRT itself, “DiPiero’s roots in the Two River area are long and strong. He grew up in Middletown and graduated from St. James Elementary School in Red Bank and Red Bank Catholic before heading off to Newport, R.I.,” where he attended Salve Regina University.
DiPiero is also the founder of Newport Capital Group in Red Bank, an investment advisory group serving high net worth individuals.
The Two River Times has a long history of being more than just a business. Former owner Michael Gooch told PolitickerNJ that when he purchased the paper in 2004 from Geraldo Rivera (who was leaving the area), he did it for the good of the community, which he believed would have been less well-served by an outside owner. Gooch, a Brit who moved to Rumson when he founded his broker-dealer GFI Group, admitted that his intention was never to make money, but that it was a “labor of love.”
It made sense then, when Gooch found himself moving out of the area, that he found someone who could fulfill the same role as a “steward” of a public service, as DePiero describes the role. Gooch fielded several higher offers to merge or be acquired, but ultimately declined them because of the deleterious effects it would have on the staff and the service provided to the community.
He found his successor in DiPiero, who shares his predecessor’s vision for the paper. While he expects it not to “fail as a business,” DiPiero said he “ultimately view[s] it as a service to the community” as well. He stressed his personal connection to the community in his decision to buy the newspaper, noting that “I grew up here, my business is here.”
Michele J. Kuhn, the editor of The Two River Times, says she also expects the paper to maintain its local focus, mainly “continuing as we were.” The newspaper has not traditionally issued political endorsements. Kuhn says that there have been no discussions yet about doing them in the future. DiPiero, too, considers it “not off the table” but also “not on the top of my list” either.
The Two River Times was founded in 1990 by Claudia Ansorge, who sold it to Geraldo Rivera, in 1991. Mickey and Diane Gooch bought the newspaper from Rivera in 2004. DiPiero’s purchase of the newspaper makes him its fourth owner.