Confirming the rumor we reported last night, the Seattle Weekly has been sold to a new owner as part of a complicated deal that involves a San Francisco company that also purchased the SF Weekly.
The Seattle Weekly's new owner is Sound Publishing, a massive conglomerate of small suburban newspapers in Washington State, which issued a press release this morning announcing the deal. That press release from Sound Publishing, which operate products such as the Kirkland Reporter, appears after the jump. As it explains, "purchase of Seattle Weekly came in tandem with a separate purchase of the SF Weekly by the San Francisco Examiner which is owned primarily by David Black, Chairman of Black Press and other Black Press executives. Black Press is the parent company of Sound Publishing. Black Press operates more than 170 newspapers in western Canada and Washington in addition to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal."
In more cynical terms, it seems Village Voice Media sought to unload the Seattle Weekly by coupling its sale with a more attractive property, SF Weekly.
Last night, The Stranger reported a rumor that Seattle Weekly had been sold to the Seattle Times Company, and that Sound Publishing was also a possible buyer. The Seattle Times Company denied that rumor, because, well, that part of the rumor wasn't true. When asked, Seattle Weekly editor Mike Seely the report was flatly "inaccurate," but he then refused to address a point blank question about whether Seattle Weekly had been sold. It now seems like that part was entirely accurate.
This morning's press release doesn't specify whether there will be any changes to Seattle Weekly's format, coverage, or staffing; however, it's within the realm of speculation that the already-waning newspaper could continue to atrophy under new ownership to resemble Sound Publishing's other papers, which are light on coverage and serve overwhelmingly as advertisement vessels. One reason to worry? Gloria Fletcher, president of Sound Publishing, said in a statement that the "Weekly fits quite well into Sound Publishing's culture of delivering unique and relevant content to both print and digital readers" while a spokesman added that the Seattle Weekly "opens up many possibilities for readers, advertisers and the communities that we serve."
Neither Seely nor Sound Publishing immediately responded to a request for comment. (Update: Seely replied but but did not provide comment on Seattle Weekly's format, coverage, or staffing.)
Sound Publishing, the state's largest community news organization, today purchased Seattle Weekly. Details of the purchase were not disclosed.
"We think highly of the Seattle Weekly and its faithful readership," says Gloria Fletcher, President of Sound Publishing. "The Weekly fits quite well into Sound Publishing's culture of delivering unique and relevant content to both print and digital readers."
Seattle Weekly, a freely distributed newspaper in Seattle and nearby cities, was purchased from Villiage Voice Media Holdings. The paper reaches over 200,000 unique print and digital readers every week with more than 1500 outdoor news boxes and in-store racks throughout Seattle and nearby areas. It was founded in 1976 by Darrell Oldham and David Brewster.
Founded in 1987, Sound Publishing publications reach more than 500,000 homes weekly with over 700,000 monthly digital readers. Sound publishes 36 daily, weekly and monthly community newspapers and magazines in addition to the Little Nickel Classifieds in western Washington and northern Oregon. Sound also operates a state-of-the-art print facility in Everett, WA.
"The addition of the Seattle Weekly to Sound's print and digital portfolio is very exciting," says Josh O'Connor, VP of East Sound Newspaper Operations. "The Weekly opens up many possibilities for readers, advertisers and the communities that we serve. We appreciate the editorial focus on local news, culture and the arts. This publication has been a leader in shaping Seattle for many decades and we look forward to managing this business in the future."
The purchase of Seattle Weekly came in tandem with a separate purchase of the SF Weekly by the San Francisco Examiner which is owned primarily by David Black, Chairman of Black Press and other Black Press executives. Black Press is the parent company of Sound Publishing. Black Press operates more than 170 newspapers in western Canada and Washington in addition to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.
Seattle Weekly and the San Francisco Weekly will be operated independently of one another.
Seattle Weekly is known for political and governmental reporting as well as music and arts coverage. It publishes a number of special issues throughout the year on topics such as a spring and fall arts guide, dining guide, special coverage of the Seattle Independent Film Festival and Bumbershoot.
Sound Publishing has executive offices in Bellevue and Poulsbo. Seattle Weekly will remain based in Seattle.