Peninsula Daily News sold to Canadian group
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Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
Peninsula Daily News Editor and Publisher John Brewer stands outside the newspaper building on Monday.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula Daily News has been sold to Black Press Ltd. of Victoria, whose Sound Publishing division is the largest community newspaper group in the Pacific Northwest, it was announced Monday.

The PDN will be printed on Sound Publishing's high-speed color press in Everett beginning with the Tuesday, Nov. 15, edition.

Twenty full- and part-time pressroom and mailroom employes will be laid off Nov. 14. They were informed Monday.

Meanwhile, Black Press announced Monday that it has also purchased Olympic View Publishing Co., which owns the Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum.

(See http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20111101/NEWS/111109999/in-addition-to-pdn-sequim-and-forks-weekly-newspapers-sold-too ).

Mark Warner, president of Black Press' Vancouver Island division, said the Canadian company “jumped at the opportunity” to purchase the PDN.

“I love your local content,” Warner told a gathering in the PDN's newsroom on Monday afternoon.

“For a daily paper, it's very strong in that. Your circulation is very good.”

The PDN is the largest source of news and advertising on the North Olympic Peninsula. It sells 16,000 Sunday editions and close to 15,000 on weekdays.

It began in 1916 and publishes Sunday through Friday, covering Clallam and Jefferson counties with offices in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend, and produces a free weekly publication, Sequim This Week, which serves more than 11,000 households in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.

Its website, www.peninsuladailynews.com, is the largest and most heavily used news and advertising website on the North Olympic Peninsula, averaging 1.2 million page views a month.

Sound Publishing is headquartered in Poulsbo.

Its mostly weekly publications are in Kitsap, Skagit, Snohomish and Pierce counties; San Juan Islands; Whidbey Island; Vashon Island; communities in east and south King County; and Portland, Ore.

More resources

Peninsula Daily News Editor and Publisher John Brewer said the sale “gives us a connection to more resources.”

He described Sound Publishing as “an excellent community newspaper company.”

Warner said the company believes in print products — and in consolidating press operations to save money.

“It's a tough economic world, and therefore the revenues aren't where they used to be, so we have to find efficiencies,” Warner said

“At the end of the day, our goal as a media company is to put out the best newspaper we can and get it to the readers.

“Things we do in the background, we need to do. But I don't think the reader, clients, will notice many of them.”

Difficult decision

Warner said the decision to close the PDN press was “extremely difficult.”

Brewer described the layoffs as “terrible.”

“The economics here demand it,” Brewer said.

“I know this: I'm very sad about it.”

All 20 employees received a severance package. They will have priority for job openings at the Everett press facility.

“Knowing there was a press here, it just simply was not viable to have purchased (the PDN) with the press and continue to run it,” Warner said after breaking the news to employees.

“Those days of having presses in almost all newspaper offices like there used to be, unfortunately, are disappearing. . . . we do centralize those parts of our business.”


‘A great 17 years'

Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The PDN had been owned by Horvitz Newspapers LLC, since 1994.

Horvitz Newspapers President Peter Horvitz personally delivered the news to PDN employees.

“It has been a great 17 years, and it's been a pleasure working with all of you,” Horvitz said.

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce this, because I've loved working with you, and I've loved working in the newspaper business.”

The PDN was the last newspaper that Horvitz Newspapers owned.

“We felt that with only one newspaper left it became more difficult for us to operate as a single newspaper entity,” Horvitz said.

“We decided to look for a buyer that we felt would carry on the great traditions of the Peninsula Daily News and could add value to it, and I feel that with Black Press we found the company that will do that.”

David Black, president of Black Press Ltd., said in a statement:

“We have purchased other titles from Horvitz Newspapers in the past [its daily and weekly newspapers in King County in 2006] and look forward to adding the Peninsula Daily News and its related titles to our Sound group.

“As publishers of other titles in the area, this acquisition is a natural extension to our marketplace footprint,” he added.

“We are pleased to be doing business in Clallam and Jefferson counties.”

Sound Publishing

The Sound Publishing division of Black Press is the largest community newspaper group in the Pacific Northwest, with 46 weekly newspapers and other publications in the region.

Black Press is a privately held company based in Victoria.

It owns a total of about 150 publications, including three daily newspapers — the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, Honolulu Star Advertiser and the Red Deer Advocate in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Other publications are in suburban or rural markets throughout the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“Altogether it's a large group,” Warner told PDN staffers.

“And that, I would hope, is a huge benefit to newspapers these days — the buying power that we have, the resources that we have, the reliance that you can now have with our people there.”

Improved printing

One thing readers can expect to see by Nov. 15 is an improved print product, Warner said.

“Not that it was a bad job here,” he said.

“But it will be in improved print job. Far more color capability. Far better color.

“Just the overall print experience will be superior.”

Warner described the press in Everett as “state of the art.”

“It's a multimillion-dollar press facility,” he said.

No management changes are planned at the PDN, Warner said.

“With Black and Sound, we'll have more resources to be able to throw at stories and do an even better job for our readers and advertisers,” Brewer said.

“We like them, and they like us. It's going to be a good fit.”

________
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at rob.ollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 01. 2011 8:38AM
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