City of Roses Newspaper Company, which owns Willamette Week and its sister paper, the Santa Fe Reporter, is buying another media company, the Independent Weekly of Raleigh, N.C. and its website, Indyweek.com.
Steve Schewel, the current owner of the 29-year-old North Carolina paper, announced the sale today and cited his lengthy relationship with WW Publisher Richard Meeker and Editor Mark Zusman, who own City of Roses.
“I am thrilled that the new owners of the Independent will be Richard and Mark,” said Schewel, a founder of the Independent Weekly
, in a statement. “This is the best possible landing place for the Indy
Meeker has strong ties to North Carolina. His brother, Charles Meeker, a lawyer, served as Raleigh's mayor from 2001 to 2011.
The purchase comes at a time when newspapers—including alternative weeklies—continue to suffer a long-term decline in advertising revenue and print circulation. Last week, Village Voice Media, which owns 13 alt-weeklies, including its flagship New York paper, laid off several reporters around the country.
Meeker says he and Zusman are concerned by the industry's woes but think the Raleigh market and the Research Triangle area of North Carolina present a highly-educated, literate market still interested in quality journalism.
"Mark and I are incredibly honored Steve has provided us this great opportunity," Meeker says. "We're evangelistic about journalism, and the Independent
is a terrific operation."
Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.