The Journal Register Company, the big local newspaper chain with nearly 324 publications serving over 900 communities in 10 states, will beat AOL’s Patch or the Huffington Post in its home markets, says CEO John Paton in this interview with Beet.TV.

The company is profitable, well established and has thoroughly embraced a successful digital strategy, focusing on “digital first.” 

Paton is something of a turnaround veteran. Joining the firm as it came out of bankruptcy, it has recently reported a profit of $40 million.

Paton has brought a number of digital heavy weights to the board of directors including former Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan and has assembled an advisory team comprised of Jeff Jarvis, former Guardian digital head Emily Bell and Jay Rosen of NYU.

Paton says that the Journal Register sites have reached 16 million monthly unique visitors, up from 13 million last year.

This is the first of two interviews with Paton.  Our next segment has covers the paper’s video strategy.

Andy Plesser