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Black Press

Black Press Group Ltd.
Industry Newspapers
Founded 1975
Headquarters 818 Broughton Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Area served
Alberta, British Columbia, Hawaii, Ohio and Washington state
Key people
David Holmes Black, CEO
Rick O'Connor, COO
Products Akron Beacon Journal, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, five other daily newspapers and more than 100 weekly newspapers
Parent David Holmes Black (80%)
Torstar (20%)
Subsidiaries Oahu Publishing Company, Sound Publications

Black Press Group Ltd. is a Canadian privately owned publisher of prominent daily newspapers in Hawaii and Ohio, United States, and numerous weekly newspapers in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, and the U.S. state of Washington. Black Press is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia.

It is currently administered and majority owned by David Holmes Black (no relation to Canadian-born media mogul Conrad Black). The company is 20% owned by Torstar, publisher of the Toronto Star and David Black's former employer.


  • History 1
  • Daily newspapers 2
    • Major dailies 2.1
    • Community dailies 2.2
    • Defunct dailies 2.3
  • Community newspapers 3
    • Alberta 3.1
    • British Columbia 3.2
    • Hawaii and California 3.3
    • Washington 3.4
  • Online Classifieds 4
    • 4.1
  • Controversies 5
    • Nisga'a Treaty editorials 5.1
    • Advertiser concerns 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


After working as a junior business analyst for the Toronto Star, Black purchased the Williams Lake Tribune of Williams Lake, British Columbia, from his father, Alan, in 1975. He bought a family-run newspaper in nearby Ashcroft in 1979, and his holdings expanded "exponentially" in the ensuing years.[1]

There was never a big plan to get big. It's just that another opportunity would come over the hill. Usually an independent would phone, wanting to retire or sell out, asking if we were interested in buying them.[1]
— David Black

Though Black Press has focused its acquisitions mainly on building a province-wide network of community newspapers in British Columbia, and a similar operation (called Sound Publishing) across the border in Washington, the company has also invested in individual marquee daily products. In 2000, Black purchased the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of Hawaii[1] (later merged with the competing Honolulu Advertiser, which Black bought in 2010). In 2006, the company acquired the Akron Beacon Journal, the former Knight Ridder flagship in Northeast Ohio.

On June 27, 2007, Black Press announced a $405 million takeover offer for Osprey Media, putting it in competition with Quebecor Media for Osprey's assets. Quebecor subsequently put in a higher bid and won ownership of Osprey.

In 2011, David Black was one of several newspaper industry veterans who joined together as investors in the San Francisco Newspaper Company to buy the former Hearst flagship The San Francisco Examiner, now a free daily newspaper]. Although the transaction was initially reported as a purchase for Black Press, David Black participated as a private investor and holds his shares in the Examiner separately from Black Press.[2]

In 2013 Black Press and Glacier Media Inc. exchanged four community newspapers in British Columbia. That led to the closure of Abbotsford Times. In 2014, Black Press negotiated deals with Glacier Media Inc. to take effect in March 2015 that would exchange a dozen British Columbia newspapers that consolidated ownership of competing community papers on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Black Press obtained Harbour City Star, Cowichan Citizen, Parksville Oceanside Star, Tofino/Ucluelet Westerly News, Comox Valley Echo, Campbell River Courier, Surrey Now and Langley Advance.[3]

Daily newspapers

Black Press owns three major metropolitan daily newspapers in the United States, and several dailies as part of its community newspaper chains in the Canadian and U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Major dailies

Community dailies

Defunct dailies

Community newspapers

Black Press is the largest publisher of newspapers in British Columbia[7] and in Washington state.[1] It also owns several weeklies associated with its daily properties in Alberta and Hawaii.


Black Press owns the daily Red Deer Advocate and several neighboring weekly newspapers in Central Alberta, in addition to various local tourism and lifestyle publications. Newspapers in Black's Prairie Division are:[8]

British Columbia

Black's original acquisitions form the core of the 320,552-circulation BC Interior Division, whose holdings extend 1,360 km from Trail near the Washington border to Smithers near the southern tip of Alaska. The wine country publications Grapes to Wine and Wine Trails are also part of this group. Following is a list of the group's community newspapers, most of which are biweekly, weekly, semiweekly or thrice-weekly, although the group also includes three small daily newspapers in Trail, Cranbrook and Kimberley:[9]

Publications in Black's BC Lower Mainland Division circulate a total of 568,200 copies per week in the Vancouver area. This group includes the Chilliwack Progress, founded in 1891, which claims to be the oldest Canadian community newspaper continuously published under the same name. The group includes the lifestyle and real estate publications Indulge Magazine, New Home Living, New Local Home, North Shore Real Estate, and the following community newspapers:[10]

The BC Vancouver Island Division includes the entertainment weekly Where Magazine and Real Estate Victoria, both covering Victoria, British Columbia and vicinity, and the following community newspapers (including the daily Alberni Valley Times and Nanaimo Daily News):[11]

Hawaii and California

In addition to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the largest daily newspaper in Hawaii, Black Press' subsidiary Oahu Publishing Inc. also community newspapers, the entertainment weekly MidWeek, HILuxury magazine, and prints military newspapers for U.S. bases in Hawaii. Oahu Publishing took full ownership of the San Francisco Media Company in 2014.


Sound Publishing Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press based in Poulsbo, Washington, is the largest community news publisher by circulation in the state of Washington.[12] The company's holdings include two daily newspapers, The Herald and the Peninsula Daily News, as well as the Tacoma Daily Index government listings publication; The Bellingham Business Journal; the Little Nickel and Nickel Ads classified listings; the military publications Kitsap Navy News and Whidbey Crosswind; The Bellevue Scene magazine; and Recreationland, a tourist guide. All of Sound Publications' products are printed at a central press plant in Everett, Washington. Community newspapers owned by Sound Publishing are:[13]

Online Classifieds

In 2007[14] the Black Press purchased[15] a Canadian online classified website with popular sites in Victoria, B.C., P.E.I, and Ottawa, ON.


Nisga'a Treaty editorials

In 1998, company owner David Black instructed his British Columbia papers to publish a series of editorials opposing the Nisga'a Treaty, which was the first modern treaty in B.C. history, and not to publish editorials in favour of the treaty.

In January 1999, the NDP government filed a complaint to the B.C. Press Council against Black Press, arguing that its policy breached its duty to act in the public interest and violated the council's constitution. Black Press said that news coverage was not affected and editors were free to publish their opinions on their letters page.

The Press Council sided with Black Press based on finding that its newspapers "did in fact carry a diversity of opinion on the Nisga'a Treaty, including those of Premier Glen Clark, Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell, Reform Party President Bill Vander Zalm as well as those of ordinary British Columbians".[16]

Advertiser concerns

In August 2007, a story in the Victoria News sparked a complaint from an advertiser and led to the firing/resignation of three senior Black Press employees. Victoria News reporter Brennan Clarke quit the publication after a story he wrote about buying cheaper cars in the United States led to a complaint from Victoria car dealership Dave Wheaton Pontiac Buick GMC. Black Press claimed the article was not balanced, and said that reporters and editors should not purposely jeopardize advertising revenue with their stories, because that revenue pays their salaries. The company also fired the Victoria News long-time editor, Keith Norbury, in part because of the complaint, and Black Press's Vancouver Island Newsgroup regional editor, Brian Lepine, resigned in protest.[17][18] The Canadian Association of Journalists publicly questioned the credibility and independence of the Victoria News, wondering how many stories Black Press kills behind the scenes because of advertising concerns.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Ward, Don (July 16, 2008). "Betting on David Black". Seattle Weekly (Seattle, Wash.). Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ "San Francisco Examiner Sold to Black Press Group". The San Francisco Examiner. November 11, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bradshaw, James (Dec 17, 2014). "Black Press, Glacier Media strike deal to swap B.C. community newspapers". Report on Business, The Globe and Mail. 
  4. ^ a b Schaefers, Allison (June 7, 2010). "Star-Advertiser Owner Known for Embracing Risk". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ James, Andrea (December 28, 2006). "King County Journal to Close". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Field, Terry (July 15, 2010). "Closing of Two Small BC Dailies is Good Business, New Owners Say". Troy Media (Calgary, Alta.). Retrieved March 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Black Picks up Two B.C. Dailies". Vernon Morning Star (Vernon, B.C.). July 27, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Black Press Acquires More Central Alberta Publications". Red Deer Advocate (Red Deer, Alta.). June 23, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Black Press/BC Interior North & South". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Black Press/Lower Mainland". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Black Press/Vancouver Island". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sequim Newspaper Sells to Sound Publishing". Bremerton Patriot. November 1, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Sound Publishing Products". Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Smith, Charlie (March 4, 2010). "Black Press-owned Web site upsets Grand Chief David Harper with racist ad". The  
  17. ^ Public Eye Online - Black on Black
  18. ^ Lupick, Travis (Aug 29, 2007). "Black press dogged by ad controversy". The  
  19. ^ Public Eye Online - A question of credibility

External links

  • Black Press
  • Sound Publishing - Black Press subsidiary in Washington state
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