North County newspaper owner threatens war on competitor

July 23, 2015

The president of News Media Corp., which owns the Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News, left a voicemail for an employee-turned-competitor in North County, chastising him for entering the local news market and threatening to go to war with him. [Paso Robles Daily News]

On June 18, John Tompkins called Scott Brennan, the owner of online publications Paso Robles Daily News and Atascadero Daily News. Both publications posted audio of the voicemail Tompkins left.

“I for some reason have just woke up and finally looked at what you’re doing against us in Paso Robles, now Atascadero,” Tompkins said. “You want to go to war with us, we’ll go to war.”

Tompkins also threatened to go after Brennan personally and to do it in San Luis Obispo County.

“You’ve got my attention now, and so I’ll be coming after you, and personally,” Tompkins said. “I am sorry it came to this. It shouldn’t have to. But you know, frankly, this is a direct assault on us, and so, I look forward to meeting you on the field, and I’ll be probably moving out there, sending our people out there, and they will be so involved that you likely will be overwhelmed.”

Tompkins said in the voicemail it was tolerable that Brennan had operated a phone book business. But, the News Media Corp. president said Brennan was getting into his knickers by becoming a news competitor.

“We’ve tolerated your phone book presence, stuff like that for a while,” Tompkins said. “I like you. You’re a good man. You’ve done a good job in the phone book business, but this is now you’re getting into our knickers.”

Brennan worked for News Media Corp. from 1995 to 2006. He then stated a marketing company, Access Publishing.

In 2012, Brennan founded the Paso Robles Daily News. He launched the Atascadero Daily News two months ago.

Tompkins reportedly founded News Media Corp. in 1975. The company owns more than 70 newspapers across the United States, most of which are published in small cities or towns.

In response to the threat, Brennan said Tompkins is “an out-of-state bully” who is trying to stifle independent news rather than competing with it.

“He called me to threaten our business and my family’s livelihood, and I find that despicable,” Brennan said. “We are not going to be bullied by some corporation from Chicago that thinks they have a monopoly on the news media in North San Luis Obispo County.”

Don’t miss breaking news, like CCN on Facebook.


When the President of a big media corporation threatens a small town business owner, my first thought is that big media corp guy is in serious trouble financially. Just sayin’.


Can’t decide which of the aforementioned publications is the best bird cage liner? Both are so full of guano that I have had to cut back on Pollys seeds between changes. Those squirrel photos freak him out too!


Dear Bully John Tompkins,

You just ran yourself out of town.


I didn’t even realize that The Daily Press or The Atascadero News was still in operation…that’s how important it is to this community…LOSER TOMPKINS..

Please use the Daily Press for ASS wipe or fire starter.


Bully just like Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill.

Got to love these folks who can’t stand a little competition, got to resort to threats. Tompkins must not have to much faith in the product he turns out if he has to make personal threats to this man.

Maybe he put his knickers out backwards and they are rubbing him raw


I didn’t know about these local publications. Our own home town paper has too much fluff and very little investigative fact finding although they aren’t as bad as the Trib. Thanks for the heads up on the new publications. Off to read them.


Cracks me up. Esp., when all of the media outlets in Paso Robles seem to be hacks for the establishment.


Whow! He sounded like he was going to come into town and “wack” you and your family like some Mafia Boss!

Rich in MB

Controversy Sells…..Bingo….what a Business Launch!


Bully. Just like our Adam Hill.

1 2 3