Santa Rosa Press Democrat Staff React to Sale Announcement

Late this morning, reporters at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat were informed that their newspaper, along with 15 others around the country, is being sold by the New York Times Regional Media Group to Florida company Halifax Media Holdings LLC.

Some employees, like columnist Chris Wilson Smith, have been around long enough to remember the last time this kind of announcement was made, back in 1985, when NYT acquired the paper from family ownership. But he acknowledges that times were very different then, and that there is much more uncertainty surrounding such a deal today:

Less than a week before Christmas, the Press Democrat building isn’t the cheeriest it’s ever been… You can imagine the questions that are bouncing off the walls. The PD publisher, Bruce Kyse, said at a late-morning staff meeting that Halifax intends to offer jobs to most PD employees but that, beyond that, he hasn’t yet many details.

According to the latest NYT figures, the Press Democrat has the second largest circulation among its regional newspaper holdings, behind the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Also being sold as part of the deal are California weeklies the Petaluma Argus-Courier and North Bay Business Journal (also published out of Santa Rosa).