Writings and observations

Shifts at Lee

One of the largest media companies operating in the Northwest, Lee Enterprises, seems to be shifting direction a bit.

For the last few years, it has been expanding steadily in the region, picking up properties here and there; the largest in recent years was the big acquisition of almost all of the newspapers in south-central Idaho. In Washington, it owns the daily at Longview; in Oregon, the dailies at Corvallis, Albany and Coos Bay (the latter a recent buy from Pulitzer). It also has owned a bunch of other properties in the region.

So the recent word of a big selloff of many of its operations in the region draws some natural interest. None of those daily newspapers were among the items sold. But it is selling a group of small commercial publications – 13 in all – at Spokane, Kennewick, Moses Lake, Wenatchee and Walla Walla. Some printing businesses will be sold, and ownership interst in the Little Nickel and Nickel Ads Classified operations housed at Seattle and Portland.

And one substantial general newspaper property, the Newport (Oregon) News-Times, will be sold to News Media Corporation. News Media currently has two properties in the Northwest, both Oregon coastal papers, the Florence Siuslaw News and the Waldport South Lincoln County News.

What does it mean? Is there some pullback from the Northwest? Or just a reshuffle of the books?

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