As owner and sole proprietor of the West Marin Citizen I am in negotiations over a sale of the paper to Tess Elliott and David Briggs of the Point Reyes Light Publishing Company (the sale will not involve the Marin Media Institute). We were hoping to have a bit more time to hash out the details before announcing this plan to our community, but a former editor of the Point Reyes Light and the WM Citizen, jumped the gun with a “blog-post” sent out via mass emails and posting on social networks, expressing his dismay over the sale. He disconnected himself from the Citizen in November 2010, when he resigned and has no insight into that paper’s finances or structure.
The three of us believe that West Marin can only support a single viable weekly newspaper—and we know we are not alone in that belief. Advertisers are stretched thin and readers and contributors are often uncomfortably stuck in the middle. Meanwhile our staffs and pay have dwindled. Our vision is that the Light will incorporate the community coverage and the voices that have made the Citizen so valuable and so beloved. We are approaching this sale in the spirit of a merger. We need all of you to help make that happen.
I will be leaving California in a few months, joining my family in Portland, Oregon. My son and his family and my daughter and her family have relocated to Portland with their small daughters, my granddaughters, due to the high cost of housing in the Bay Area.
I joined the Citizen in the summer of 2007 when Joel Hack started the paper during a period of dissatisfaction with the new owner of the Pt Reyes Light. The Citizen fulfilled a need in the community for grass-roots local news.
The two papers helped define what readers were looking for in a local paper and I feel it’s time to bow out and allow the Pt Reyes Light, with the support of the community, begin a new era in West Marin journalism.
. I trust that you all will encourage and support Tess and David, and continue the “community conversations” via letters, opinion, and stories about local people doing local things.
This is a bitter-sweet moment for me and the many Citizen supporters and contributors, but it does not mean the spirit of the Citizen will disappear. I hope all of you will sustain your passion and dedication to community and help Tess and David incorporate this energy into the “new” Light.
There are too many people I want to thank, too many to name but I do want to mention how grateful I am for all the hugs, phone calls and messages of support for my difficult decision this past week. Most important is my gratitude to David Bunnett and Joel Hack for convincing me that I could take on the role of publisher in 2011, among my many other responsibilities.
I will still be publishing the Coast Guide twice a year which will bring me to West Marin now and then to bother business owners for advertising. You are not rid of me yet!
The Citizen will cease publishing after April 30th. Subscriptions will be honored by the Point Reyes Light.
At this time we continue to accept your stories and photos and letters and calendar entries as usual. We welcome your thoughts and memories of the nearly eight WM Citizen years!
With great affection, Linda Petersen
By Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell
Sometimes you just have to take the leap. It’s better to jump into cold water than wade in slowly. It’s better to rip off the BandAid than to slowly pull every hair. Better to leave a harmful situation.
We get all worked up about change. We get scared of unseen developments, of life’s uncertainties, of death. We want to be sure of our footing. We want time to be able to form expectations. We feel safe with the status quo. But that belies our adaptive nature – the quality that has made our species so successful.
A skydiver doesn’t exit the plane a little at a time. It’s a leap. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been careful preparation for jumping into thin air.
A sailing vessel would never leave port if captain and crew were not ready to face unknown dangers. They stock the boat, stop leaks, repair sails, check the rigging, but they set sail not truly knowing what’s in store. That’s why logbook entries used to be written “sailing towards” not “sailing to” the destination, just in case they had to divert.
Prepare for heavy weather, for transformation, for change. Then sail for your destination, aware of your ability to take what comes.
A few comments from community on the sale:
Linda Petersen and Tess Elliott and the Point Reyes Light and the West Marin Citizen -wishing you peace and wisdom and space and support from your community as you work together right now on a new future for all. I honor your efforts! Robin Carpenter
I support Linda’s decision to sell to the Point Reyes Light. I support the concept of one newspaper and I know that this community can work together to support one newspaper. It is time. Linda put a lot of thought into this and did not make this decision lightly. Linda and Tess are planning to come on KWMR and talk more about the process at a future date. Stay tuned. Amanda Eichstaedt
hi Tess and Linda …..
`just a short word praising each of you for such polite and ethical behaviour.
`i look forward to the merger of journalistic philosophies. We will all be the better for it.