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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors: Seattle Weekly Will Be Sold (Updated)

Posted by on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 8:28 PM

UPDATE: This post was updated at 10:40 p.m. to include new information and comments.

The Seattle Weekly is being sold, according to a source who claims to be familiar with the arrangement, but some of those involved deny certain details while others refuse to comment altogether.

The story began earlier today some 800 miles south of Seattle. At a staff meeting of the SF Newspaper Company, CEO Todd Vogt reportedly told employees "that he has bought the SF Weekly and Seattle Weekly (to be sold to the Seattle Times right after the sale)," according to the source who was in that meeting.

However, the Seattle Times Company denies that they are the buyers. Seattle Times executive editor David Boardman says he "does not know of" such a deal, and Jill Mackie, who speaks for the company on business matters, says that while "we generally try not to comment on rumors," there is no reason to contradict Boardman's comment.

Meanwhile, when asked for comment on rumors that he was buying the Seattle Weekly, Vogt replied somewhat cryptically. "I'm not sure what you have heard or from who. I don't have any comment on what you have asked," he wrote.

Still, Vogt is expected to buy a weekly paper very soon.

It has been reported that Vogt, whose company also owns the Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Examiner, intends to purchase another newspaper in that media market. (The East Bay Express has since insisted it is not for sale and the Chronicle seems a highly unlikely purchase, so speculation abounded that Vogt's eye was on the SF Weekly.) That seems likely given that both the Seattle Weekly and SF Weekly have been owned by Village Voice Media, which has sought to unload some of its properties after decoupling from the embattled Backpage.com.

"VVM is looking to dump some of its losers," the source says.

The source also says that VVM would only sell the SF Weekly to Vogt if he also bought the Seattle Weekly, so Vogt reportedly purchased both newspapers with intentions to sell Seattle Weekly to someone else. (As a caveat: In December, Vogt told the SF Appeal that he planned to imminently purchase another publication, and that was nearly three weeks ago. So who knows?)

Asked if the Seattle Weekly was being sold to the Seattle Times Company, Seattle Weekly editor Mike Seely says by e-mail, without being specific, "Your information is inaccurate." But asked point blank if the paper had been sold—to anyone—and what information was inaccurate, he refused to answer. "You've got what I'm willing to put on the record," he wrote in a rejoinder.

He also said my original post was "sloppy" and I didn't give him enough time to reply by e-mail.

Still, the source insists this is a "done deal," but nothing will be announced until the morning. There have been rumors among local media insiders that Sound Publishing, which owns a string of newspapers that cater to smaller and suburban markets, was also a possible buyer.

Given the Seattle Times's pretty clear statements, it appears that the Times is not the buyer. But given Vogt's and Seely's lack of specificity—they haven't denied that the Seattle Weekly is being sold—I can't help but wonder if some other publisher does plan on buying the paper. I'll update this as I hear more, whether it's debunking the whole rumor or specifying what I hear.

UPDATE on JAN 9: The buyer is indeed Sound Publishing.

 

Comments (22) RSS

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heywhatsit!? 1
The STC can't afford to buy a hamburger. How is this possible?
Posted by heywhatsit!? on January 8, 2013 at 8:39 PM · Report this
rob! 2
I get that you're focusing on the purchaser side here, but presumably seller VVM agreed to sell at a below-market price or has to take some of the proceeds and give them right back to the Bay Guardian, no? Wasn't it BG that sued over predatory advertising practices and won?
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM · Report this
rob! 3
Kinda casts this VanDeVoorde chest-thumping in a new light.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 8, 2013 at 8:55 PM · Report this
LEE. 4
why...if the Times bought the Weekly, it would almost be like you were in direct competition with your arch nemesis! dumb fuckin' luck, huh?
Posted by LEE. on January 8, 2013 at 9:16 PM · Report this
5
Gotta love those stories that you are so excited to get out that you miss a "by" in the first paragraph :)
Posted by zonod on January 8, 2013 at 9:21 PM · Report this
TVDinner 6
Crazy story about a complicated conspiracy in the Bay Area affecting the Weakly and Seattle Times just three hours after the Weed Fairy made a delivery?

Uh huh. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure, Dominic.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM · Report this
7
Gotta love a newspaper CEO with bad grammar (last paragraph).
Posted by elaineinballard on January 8, 2013 at 9:43 PM · Report this
8
I haven't read the Weekly in years. I used to pick a copy up every week, along with The Stranger, back when Audrey Van Whatever was the editor, and The Stranger wouldn't stop taking digs at the Weekly.

But somewhere along the way, I lost interest. I don't know why. I think it tried to be too much and The Stranger was just more fun to read. Last I heard, the Weekly had a decent music section, though. As much as the Weekly's occasional suburban conservatism would grate me at times, it's still a little sad to see it struggle. I don't know if I'll feel the same way once it's the Times getting sold.
Posted by floater on January 8, 2013 at 9:53 PM · Report this
Baconcat 9
@6: Shit, I made a twitter joke to that effect and now I guess I'm a biter because you made it 20 minutes before I did.
Posted by Baconcat on January 8, 2013 at 10:02 PM · Report this
10
Why would they want it? The print version is so thin and uninteresting. The online version isn't any better. Spambots outnumber actual commenters.
Posted by Roger Salier on January 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 11
I used the Weekly to light my charcoal chimney for my grill. It was an effective accelerant.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://www.zombo.com on January 8, 2013 at 10:16 PM · Report this
12
maybe the PI is trying to get back into print?
Posted by teddy b on January 8, 2013 at 10:48 PM · Report this
raku 13
The Seattle Weekly has the best music section in town, which is very unfortunate because it's a pretty bad music section.
Posted by raku on January 8, 2013 at 10:49 PM · Report this
Goldy 14
I hear that it's PubliCola that is acquiring Seattle Weekly, which will be rebranded Seattle Weekly at PubliCola at SeattleMet.
Posted by Goldy on January 8, 2013 at 11:29 PM · Report this
heywhatsit!? 15
@6 is probably more correct than the original post.
Posted by heywhatsit!? on January 8, 2013 at 11:36 PM · Report this
LEE. 16
@13

sure, I find that I am constantly asking myself "but what does Duff McKagen think about these current music trends?".
Posted by LEE. on January 8, 2013 at 11:46 PM · Report this
17
I heard the Stranger acquired the Weekly, in order to improve their music section.
Posted by ian on January 8, 2013 at 11:55 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 18
Quick! Someone call up the "Ask A Bitter Seattleite" or whatever that piece of crap column was called, and ask him what he thinks!

Or, wait, nevermind.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on January 9, 2013 at 5:09 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 19
Hearst ftw!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
kitschnsync 20
The Weekly was bought by Sound Publishing. It will remain in Seattle.
Posted by kitschnsync on January 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this
21
@20, thank you! Looks like Seattle Weekly is about to develop a blockbuster media synergy with the Mercer Island Reporter.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 22
I hear the next issue of Seattle Weekly Little Nickel will be quite interesting.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 9, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this

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