News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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U-T San Diego buys 8 local weekly newspapers

U-T San Diego, which a year ago bought and eventually closed the daily North County Times, announced the purchase of eight community weekly newspapers in North County on Nov. 1.

The purchase leaves the area with far fewer longtime independently run news outlets – the online news journal North Coast Current, founded in 2002; The Coast News, which started in the mid-1980s; and The Paper, which has roots going back to the 1960s.

A new Oceanside-based news website launched recently, called OsideNews. America Online’s local Patch websites have had cutbacks in staff and coverage recently.

Under a division called U-T Community News, the San Diego daily newspaper is purchasing eight community publications owned by Mainstreet Communications, according to a U-T announcement – La Jolla Light, Del Mar Times, Poway News Chieftain, Rancho Bernardo & 4S Ranch News Journal, Solana Beach Sun, Carmel Valley News, Rancho Santa Fe Review and Ramona Sentinel.

U-T San Diego announced its purchase of Mainstreet Communications’ North County newspapers Nov. 1.
U-T San Diego announced its purchase of Mainstreet Communications’ North County newspapers Nov. 1.

“We are thrilled to be taking on the stewardship of these community newspapers,” U-T San Diego Publisher Douglas Manchester said in the announcement. “We firmly believe that community news is one of the hallmarks of strong local newspapers, and we intend to continue this legacy for many years to come.”

“This acquisition was driven by Papa Doug and his vision that we will be able to service San Diego neighborhoods more effectively through U-T Community News,” U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch said in the news release. “With these papers as a template, our strategy will be to launch additional community papers in San Diego’s larger communities and neighborhoods.”

Similar sentiments had been expressed at the time U-T San Diego purchased its daily competitor, the North County Times, in October 2012.

“Those who love the North County Times should embrace this acquisition, because we’re going to be able to give them more of what they want,” Lynch said in a U-T report when the Times purchase was announced last year. “That’s why we’re doing research, to determine what they want. It has always been our strategy to respond to what the readers want, and provide that.”

The North County Times was later replaced by the new U-T North County after a round of layoffs. By this May, U-T North County and The Californian, its counterpart in Temecula, suspended operations as separate U-T editions, leading to several more layoffs.

U-T management said the weekly community newspapers will still operate under local management and separate staffs. Phyllis Pfeiffer, the papers’ current publisher, will continue to lead the papers under the new U-T Community News division, according to the announcement.

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U-T San Diego buys 8 local weekly newspapers