Marin paper may be bought by bigger group

The Associated Press
Monday September 11, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO — The Marin Independent Journal, a 40,000-circulation newspaper based north of San Francisco, could be bought by ANG Newspapers owner William Dean Singleton, according to a published report Saturday. 

The Independent Journal, founded in 1861, has been owned by Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, since 1980. 

Reporters at the Independent Journal said Executive Editor Jackie Kerwin said she did not know if there is a deal to buy the paper, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday. 

Reporters said she told them she thinks Gannett will decide the Independent Journal’s future by Sept. 29, when the current publisher leaves for another job. 

Buying the paper would allow Singleton to combine the Independent Journal’s operations with those of his other papers. ANG publishes papers around the Bay – in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Alameda, San Mateo, Vallejo, Pleasanton, Milpitas and Pacifica.  

They have a combined circulation of about 250,000. 

According to the website for Singleton’s Denver, Colo.-based MediaNews Group, controlling papers in contiguous markets will help the company be more efficient. 

The publisher, Phyllis K. Pfieffer, is not the only top-ranking Independent Journal employee to leave recently.  

The director of advertising and the head of online operations have resigned, and the managing editor left several months ago. 

Gannett prints its Northern California version of its flagship paper, USA Today, on the Independent Journal’s presses, which has relegated the Independent Journal to afternoons, because the USA Today printing is done for mornings. 

The Chronicle quotes newspaper observers as saying that any sale of the Independent Journal would likely have a clause covering USA Today printing.