Black Press has bought its first newspaper in the Yukon Territory with the acquisition of the independent Yukon News.

By Tamara Baluja

Black Press, a B.C. media company that owns more than 150 community newspapers in that province as well as in Alberta and the U.S., has bought its first newspaper in the Yukon Territory with the acquisition of the independent Yukon News.

Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Press, wouldn’t comment on the cost of the transaction but said the acquisition closed on Friday, Aug. 30 with the paper’s former co-owners and publishers, husband and wife Steve Robertson and Barbara McLeod. “They came to us and asked if we were interested in buying the newspaper,” O’Connor said. “I like the marketplace and the geography, so we’re going to invest in the newspaper to improve the quality.”

The free Whitehorse newspaper will maintain its current publication cycle of twice weekly. It has a circulation of approximately 6,000 on Wednesday and 8,000 on Friday. Black Press is not planning any major changes with the exception of an investment in new printing hardware that will make the newspaper full colour in six months. “It’s business as usual for now,” O’Connor said.


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“I was finding it more and more challenging to keep up with all the different technology and the social media and the web aspect of it all,” Robertson said in a news release. “I started to realize how much more difficult it was as an independent little paper to try to keep current on all those things and do things as well as we want to do them here.”

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Black Press hired all 30 of the current staff of the Yukon News, with the exception of Robertson and McLeod who are leaving.

“I have known David Black and Rick O’Connor, who is the president, for a very long time, and I know that they’re real newspaper people,” Robertson said in a statement. “They believe in print, still, and they believe in community media.”

The paper officially changed hands on Sept. 1.

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.