HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut's economic development commissioner says she's received responses from five media companies that may be interested in buying some or all of the daily and weekly newspapers put up for sale by Journal Register Publishing Co.

Joan McDonald says she's guardedly optimistic that some kind of deal can be reached. It's now up to the newspaper publisher to negotiate with potential buyers.

Philadelphia-area dailies published in the region include the Times Herald in Norristown, the Daily Local News in West Chester, and the Trentonian.

The Department of Economic and Community Development sent letters this month to 13 media companies, including three in Connecticut, telling them about Yardley, Pa.-based Journal Register's plans to close the Herald of New Britain, the Bristol Press and 11 weekly publications if a buyer could not be found by Jan. 12.

McDonald says her agency can provide buyers with some financial and technical assistance.

Three of the company's neighborhood newspapers in Philadelphia - the Olney Times, the News Gleaner (covering Northeast Philadelphia), and the Northeast Breeze - were closed earlier this month. Also closed was a monthly publication called Life.

Journal Register, which owns 22 daily newspapers and about 300 non-daily publications nationwide, announced last month that it had hired a company to arrange the sales.

In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Journal Register said a July forbearance agreement with lenders has been extended to Jan. 16, after which the lenders could prompt a default if the company missed payments.

The company says it has $85.6 million in assets and $729.7 million in liabilities.