Debriefer: March 24, 2015

Citizen joins Light; Check out a book, run a 3D printer


A minor media shakeup is in the works in West Marin as the weekly Point Reyes Light is poised to fold the West Marin Citizen into its Pulitzer Prize–winning pages. The deal will likely go down by May 15, according to the current publisher of the Citizen.

Point Reyes Light chief editor Tess Elliott told Debriefer this week that talks are underway between herself, the Light‘s David Briggs and Citizen publisher-editor Linda Petersen. News of the talks were leaked online by a former writer at both papers.

Elliott would not say how much the Light will be paying to purchase the Citizen. “We haven’t actually purchased it; we’re in the process of drafting a contract,” says Elliott.

The driver for the consolidation move is ad sales in West Marin, and the fact that there just aren’t enough advertisers in the area to support two weeklies.

“It’s really true,” says Elliott.

Elliott reports that Petersen plans to retire and make tracks for Portland, Ore., once the deal is done.

In an editor’s note last week, Petersen wrote, “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.”

Elliott says she has indeed been reaching out to writers at the Citizen in her capacity as editor. “I am in conversations with [Petersen’s] contributors about whether they want to work with me as an editor. Hopefully, we will be including as many of those people as we can.” No staff members from the Citizen will be added to the Light‘s masthead, she says.

The Point Reyes Light, Elliott notes, distinguishes itself for its in-depth coverage of West Marin news. (Debriefer is also partial to the paper’s weekly police blotter.) It’s unclear, says Elliott, whether the consolidation of resources will lead to more advertising and greater page counts at the Point Reyes Light.

Whatever happens, says Elliott, “We are committed to covering the news and in my mind, that takes precedence.” The Light won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1979 for its coverage of the cultish Synanon drug-rehab organization.—Tom Gogola


In addition to books, you can now check out 3D printing at the Central Library in Santa Rosa.

The library is offering 3D printing services to the public in the form of introductory two-hour workshops and scheduled access, all free of charge. The library purchased a MakerBot Replicator 2 in 2014, with the help of an anonymous donor. Patrons of all ages are encouraged to make use of the technology to prototype design concepts, make improvements on objects they already have, or just get creative with this state-of-the-art machine. Can we make cosplay props? Sure. Stormtrooper helmets too? Sure, why not. Replica guns? Don’t go there.

After a two-month residency at the central branch, the printer will travel through Sonoma County’s library system. For info about the workshops and sign-ups, call the library at 707.545.0831.—Charlie Swanson

Sonoma County Library