Issaquah Press shutting down in February

The Issaquah Press will print its final issue next month, ending the Eastside newspaper’s 117-year run and bringing the latest wave of job cuts to Seattle-area news outlets. The Sammamish Review, the SnoValley Star and the Newcastle News will also cease publication in February. All are owned by the Issaquah Press Group, a subsidiary of The Seattle Times.

A total of 12 people will be laid off: seven newsroom employees, four in advertising, and one in operations, Charles Horton, general manager of the Issaquah Press, told staff members in a meeting Thursday.

Horton said the company spent months looking for tweaks to the business model that could keep the newspapers afloat. Ultimately, he said, expectations for a continued swoon in print newspaper advertising outweighed the savings they could expect with more cuts.

The closures come as advertisers shift their spending toward digital and mobile audiences, often through ad networks overseen by digital advertising giants Google and Facebook instead of traditional media outlets.

In the past two months, NBC News shut down its Seattle-based Breaking News startup, Northwest Cable News aired its final broadcast amid layoffs there, and KOMO 4 cut several positions, including its investigative reporting team. Cuts are also under way at The Seattle Times, where layoffs and buyouts are expected to see 23 newsroom staffers leave, as well as an unclear number of employees in other departments.

The four papers slated to close next month are distributed free and have a combined circulation of more than 45,000, the company says.

The Seattle Times acquired the Issaquah Press in 1995, around the period the company scooped up newspapers in Yakima, Federal Way and Des Moines, as well as a chain of Maine newspapers. The South Sound newspapers were shuttered in 1998, and Blethen Maine Newspapers was sold in 2009 during the recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

Tracy Press owners buy Chino papers

The Tracy Press family of newspapers grew this week with the addition of the Chino Champion and Chino Hills Champion newspapers in Southern California.

Will Fleet and Ralph Alldredge, owners of the Tracy Press, announced today the acquisition of the 129-year-old weekly paper from Allen P. McCombs, who owned it for 60 years, and his partner Bruce Wood, who was named co-publisher in 2000 and took over as publisher in 2006.

The terms of the sale were not released, but Fleet said Wood had agreed to stay on with the paper for the time being, represent the needs of the community and advise the new ownership team.

“During the last 60 years we have built the 130-year-old Champion into one of the strongest independent community weeklies in the state,” they wrote. “Both Will Fleet and Ralph Alldredge have a long history of operating community newspapers, and are doing so now in Northern California. We have faith that they will continue the Champion newspapers as a vital part of local life.”

The Champion distributes more than 40,000 newspapers every week, The change in ownership is effective Feb. 1.