Although Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ) has a whole slew of well-known, national news brands within its product portfolio, it now plans to sell six of its community-based newspapers as part of its continued focus on online operations.

The company is shopping around its Ottaway Community Newspapers, which are local papers for Danbury, Conn.; Oneonta, N.Y.; Plattsburg, N.Y.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Sunbury, Penn.; and Traverse City, Mich.

Those markets may not sound like much to write home about, especially since Dow Jones is the name behind such well-known business and financial news brands as The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, and MarketWatch. But the WSJ itself mentioned the possible sale, noting that that the newspapers boast high margins and may command a roughly $300 million price tag (as well as a benefit for Dow Jones related to $155 million in capital loss tax carry-forwards that expire at the end of this year). However, it's worthwhile to note that ad sales were weak last month for the Ottaway newspapers.

While Dow Jones may merely be taking advantage of an opportunity to sell some assets and reap some extra cash, it's not too hard to imagine that it's hoping to sell those local newspapers while the selling's still good. If it's choosing to pare down its portfolio, it would make sense to sell what it feels it can do without, though the move is not likely to quash the notion that print-based papers are yesterday's news. Although small, local newspapers have proven resilient, it's reasonable to wonder when the damage to newsprint will extend across the board.

The fact that Journal Register (NYSE:JRC) also revealed plans to sell some of its New England papers adds credence to the idea that these companies are looking to strategically position themselves for the times ahead, with an emphasis on digital efforts.

Not long ago, we learned that Dow Jones is contemplating such a strategy, particularly in the digital realm; that's what many newspapers have been doing. Despite industry difficulties, digital media represents a real growth opportunity for Dow Jones and rivals like New York Times (NYSE:NYT), Gannett (NYSE:GCI), and Washington Post (NYSE:WPO), to name just a few.

Dow Jones may have reported a decent quarter recently (many newspaper companies floundered amidst turbulent times), but it can't rest on its laurels. While the company may be one of the best-positioned newspaper companies for the long term, its stock is also trading at a premium compared to other companies in its industry. Watching its continued strategic changes should prove interesting to investors who are keeping a close eye on the industry.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.