Herald sale to Sound Publishing completed

EVERETT — The Daily Herald has a new owner.

Sound Publishing, a subsidiary of Black Press of Surrey, B.C., completed its purchase of the newspaper and two other publications from The Washington Post Company on Monday afternoon.

Terms of the deal, announced Feb. 6, were not disclosed. The purchase included the HeraldNet.com website, the monthly Herald Business Journal and the weekly Spanish-language regional newspaper La Raza del Noroeste.

Sound Publishing President Gloria Fletcher said she has “great respect for The Daily Herald. It is a great news product with a keen eye on the Snohomish County area.”

“I have been asked several times about our plans for publisher,” Fletcher said. “We are identifying candidates now and will have a publisher on site within the next few weeks. Fortunately, current Publisher David Dadisman has graciously agreed to stay through the end of April.

“I have faith in the talented team of employees at the Herald. So I’m certain the business transition on Tuesday will be seamless to the advertisers and readers,” Fletcher said.

Sound’s focus on local news coverage is a good fit for The Herald, said Neal Pattison, executive editor.

“The Herald news staff has always considered this a community newspaper. Sound Publishing’s leadership has shared a vision of a top-notch community paper operating in Snohomish County for years to come. And that is encouraging,” Pattison said.

Sound Publishing, with head offices in Bellevue and Poulsbo, owns 40 other publications in Washington. Most are community weeklies, including the Arlington Times and the Marysville Globe. The company also recently purchased Seattle Weekly and owns the Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles. Sound says its community newspapers’ combined circulation in the state is 629,000. The company also owns The Little Nickel, which has circulation of 241,000.

Black, the parent company, also owns newspapers in British Columbia and Alberta, as well as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Akron, Ohio, Beacon Journal. In all, Black owns more than 170 publications.

The acquisition brings an end to printing The Herald and the other publications at the newspaper’s downtown Everett location. Sound Publishing has its own printing plant and distribution center near Paine Field, which serves all of the company’s Western Washington publications.

Herald employees in production and distribution are losing their jobs. Some are being offered work under the new owners.

The Herald had about 200 full and part-time employees Monday, Dadisman said, and “less than one-third of the total workforce will be unemployed as a result of the sale.”

The Post Co. owned The Herald for 35 years. It is selling Herald properties on Marine View Drive at California Street separately. Sound Publishing will lease space in the Herald building for up to a year and then move to another location.

The Herald sale by the Post Co. follows years of unprofitability.

The challenging economics of owning a stand-alone newspaper on the West Coast, Post executives have said, made the sale necessary to preserve The Herald. Under Sound Publishing, efficiencies gained through centralized production and other tasks are seen as crucial to the publication’s survival at a time of declining print revenue.

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