Somerville Journal

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Somerville Journal
TypeWeekly newspaper
EditorJulia Taliesin (until 2021)
FoundedDecember 8, 1870
Ceased publication2022
OCLC number22923387

The Somerville Journal was a weekly newspaper published in Somerville, Massachusetts from 1870 until 2022.

Early history[edit]

The first issue of the Somerville Journal was published December 8, 1870, by W. A. Greenough & Company, known for publishing directories. During the next few years the paper changed ownership several times, early owners including Russell H. Conwell, then a Somerville resident, and John A. Cummings, later mayor of the city. On October 20, 1876, the paper came under the control of the Somerville Journal Company, under the presidency of J. O. Hayden. Hayden later became president of two Somerville banks, and treasurer of Middlesex County.[1] With the change of ownership, the paper, which had previously been printed in Boston, began to be printed in Somerville, first in an office on the third floor of the Hill Building in Union Square, then, in July 1894, in the Somerville Journal Building, built for that purpose. Other magazines printed in the Somerville Journal Building included the Journal of Education, the American Primary Teacher, and The Writer.[2] A founder of The Writer, William Henry Hills, bought an interest in the Somerville Journal Company in 1890, and was reported as editor of the Journal and president of the Company in 1895.[3]

The "Pencilings" column of the Journal became popular, with excerpts appearing in newspapers nationwide.[2] It was started by George Russell Jackson, an editor of the Journal, continued for a year by C. H. Hoyt, and then, from January 1885, by Hills.[4][5] Other notable people associated with the Journal include Leon M. Conwell, later Mayor of Somerville, and Barbara Galpin, one of the first women in the publishing business in Massachusetts.

A rival newspaper, the Somerville Citizen was started in 1888, first in the Stickney Building on Pearl Street, and later moved to Gilman Square. It was united with the Somerville Journal in 1901.[6]

Modern journal[edit]

By the 1980s the Somerville Journal had been acquired by the Dole Publishing Company, publishers of the Cambridge Chronicle. When Dole was acquired by Fidelity Investments in 1991, it became the Bay State Newspaper Company, which in turn was merged into the Community Newspaper Company in 1996. This was sold by Fidelity in 2001 to the Boston Herald, which sold it in 2006 to GateHouse Media. During GateHouse ownership, the former CNC papers took on the present "Wicked Local" branding. In 2019 GateHouse was merged with Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the United States. In March 2022 Gannett announced plans to merge or discontinue many of its Massachusetts properties, including the Somerville Journal, which on May 12, 2022 was merged with the Medford Transcript to form the Transcript and Journal.[7]

Later editors include:

  • George Donnelly, 1987 to 1991[8]
  • Kathleen Powers, 2000 to 2009
  • Debra Filcman, 2009 to 2011[9]
  • Jillian Fennimore, 2011 to 2012
  • Erin Tiernan, 2016 to 2017
  • Kathryn Bowler, 2017 to 2018
  • Julia Taliesin, 2018 to 2021

By at least 2018, editor Julia Taliesin was simultaneously the paper's only full-time reporter.[10]



  1. ^ "Hayden, Joseph Orlin", Albert Nelson Marquis, Who's Who in New England: a biographical dictionary of leading living men, 1915, page 526. Digitized by Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Somerville, past and present, by Edward Augustus Samuels, Henry Hastings Kimball, printed 1897, page 475.
  3. ^ "Hills, William Henry", The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1895, volume 4, page 74. Digitized by Google Books.
  4. ^ "A staple of Journals past -- Pencilings" Archived 2012-11-08 at the Wayback Machine, by Kathleen Powers, Somerville Journal, Sep 12, 2007. Retrieved Mar 16, 2010.
  5. ^ The Writer, edited by William Henry Hills and Robert Luce, volume 42, page 315, 1930.[1] Digitized by Google Books.
  6. ^ The Story of Somerville, Mary Alice Haley (1903). Online at the Internet Archive, retrieved Mar 16, 2010.
  7. ^ Jason Pramas, "Media Consolidation Accelerates in Somerville," Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, March 22, 2022, Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  8. ^ "Somerville Chamber of Commerce - About Us" Archived 2010-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved Mar 16, 2010.
  9. ^ "Filcman named editor of the Journal and Wicked Local Somerville" Archived 2009-06-27 at the Wayback Machine, by Auditi Guha, Somerville Journal, Jun 25, 2009
  10. ^ Shira Laucharoen, "Julia Taliesin to Leave the Somerville Journal," Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, May 11, 2021, Retrieved May 16, 2022.