Black Press

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Black Press Group Ltd.
HeadquartersSurrey, British Columbia, Canada[1]
Area served
Alberta, British Columbia, Hawaii, Alaska and Washington state
Key people
David Holmes Black (Chair)
ProductsHonolulu Star-Advertiser, five other daily newspapers and more than 100 weekly newspapers
OwnersDavid Holmes Black (80%)
Torstar (20%)
SubsidiariesOahu Publications Inc, Sound Publishing Edit this at Wikidata

Black Press Group Ltd. is a Canadian publisher of prominent daily newspapers in Hawaii and Alaska and numerous non-daily newspapers in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, and (via Sound Publishing) the U.S. state of Washington.

Black Press Media is headquartered in Surrey, British Columbia, and has regional offices in Victoria, Williams Lake, and Kelowna.[1]

The company was founded and is majority owned by David Holmes Black,[2] who has 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.[3]


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.[4]

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.[4]

— 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 2001, Black purchased the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of Hawaii[4] (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 September 19., 2002, Torstar Corporation announced that it was investing $20 million to acquire a 19.35% share in Black Press. At that time Black Press published 88 newspapers and had 11 printing plants. Annual revues were $240 million.[5]

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 put in a higher bid and won ownership of Osprey. As of 2008 it owned about 150 newspapers.[6]

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 had been 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.[7]

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 Harbor City Star, Nanaimo Daily News, Cowichan Citizen, Parksville Oceanside Star, Tofino/Ucluelet Westerly News, Comox Valley Echo, Campbell River Courier, Surrey Now and Langley Advance.[8]

In 2018, Black Press sold the Akron Beacon Journal to Gatehouse Media and acquired the Juneau Empire and two other papers in Alaska from Gatehouse.[9]

In March 2021, Black Press purchased Northern News Services Limited of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which publishes five newspapers in the Northwest Territories and two in Nunavut.[10]

Daily newspapers[edit]

Black Press owns two 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[edit]

Community dailies[edit]

Defunct dailies[edit]

Community newspapers[edit]

Black Press is the largest publisher of newspapers in British Columbia[14] and in Washington state.[4] 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:[15]

British Columbia[edit]

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:[16]

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:[17]

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, the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, and the Nanaimo Daily News, the first two of which were closed in 2015[18] followed by closure of the Nanaimo Daily News in 2016[19]):[20]

Hawaii and California[edit]

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

Washington and Alaska[edit]

Sound Publishing Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press, is based in Everett, Washington and is the largest community news publisher by circulation in the state of Washington.[21] The company's holdings include four daily newspapers, The Herald, the Peninsula Daily News, The Daily World and the Tacoma Daily Index government listings publication. All of Sound Publishing's products are printed at a central press plant in Everett, Washington. Sound Publishing acquired three newspapers in Alaska in 2018.[9] Community newspapers owned by Sound Publishing are:[22]

Online classifieds[edit][edit]

In 2007[23] the Black Press purchased[24] a Canadian online classified website with popular sites in Victoria, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Ottawa, Ontario.


Nisga'a Treaty editorials[edit]

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 favor 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".[25]

Advertiser concerns[edit]

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.[26][27]

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.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Contact Us". Black Press. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  2. ^ "About Us". Black Press. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  3. ^ MacQueen, Ken (May 21, 2009). "Black's Magic". Maclean's. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  4. ^ a b c d Ward, Don (July 16, 2008). "Betting on David Black". Seattle Weekly. Seattle, Wash. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  5. ^ "Torstar Announces Investment In Black Press Ltd". 2002-09-12. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  6. ^ "Community and Suburban Papers: The Industry's Sweet Spot". Editor & Publisher. Duncan McIntosh. October 2008. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  7. ^ "San Francisco Examiner Sold to Black Press Group". The San Francisco Examiner. November 11, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Bradshaw, James (Dec 17, 2014). "Black Press, Glacier Media strike deal to swap B.C. community newspapers". Report on Business, The Globe and Mail.
  9. ^ a b Juneau, Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska-. "Juneau Empire and Alaska sister papers sold again". Alaska Public Media. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  10. ^ Ritchie, Haley (2021-03-11). "Black Press Media acquires Northern News Services papers in NWT and Nunavut". Yukon News. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  11. ^ a b Schaefers, Allison (June 7, 2010). "Star-Advertiser Owner Known for Embracing Risk". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  12. ^ James, Andrea (December 28, 2006). "King County Journal to Close". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Field, Terry (July 15, 2010). "Closing of Two Small BC Dailies is Good Business, New Owners Say". Troy Media. Calgary, Alta. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "Black Picks up Two B.C. Dailies". Vernon Morning Star. Vernon, B.C. July 27, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  15. ^ "Black Press Acquires More Central Alberta Publications". Red Deer Advocate. Red Deer, Alta. June 23, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  16. ^ "Black Press/BC Interior North & South". Archived from the original on October 30, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  17. ^ "Black Press/Lower Mainland". Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  18. ^ Watson, H. G. (2015-10-02). "Vancouver Island's Alberni Valley Times to close". JSource. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  19. ^ "Nanaimo Daily News Closing After 141 Years". HuffPost Canada. 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  20. ^ "Black Press/Vancouver Island". Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  21. ^ "Sequim Newspaper Sells to Sound Publishing". Bremerton Patriot. November 1, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  22. ^ "Sound Publishing Products". Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  23. ^ "::: Black Press :::". Archived from the original on 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  24. ^[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Smith, Charlie (March 4, 2010). "Black Press-owned Web site upsets Grand Chief David Harper with racist ad". The Georgia Straight. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  26. ^ Public Eye Online – Black on Black
  27. ^ Lupick, Travis (Aug 29, 2007). "Black press dogged by ad controversy". The Georgia Straight. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  28. ^ Public Eye Online – A question of credibility

External links[edit]