According to a post earlier today by the Sonoma Valley Sun, the “word on the street” is that Sonoma Media Investments will soon buy the Napa Valley Register.
The investment group—which already owns the Sonoma Index-Tribune, the Press Democrat, the North Bay Business Journal and the Petaluma Argus-Courier, along with the rest of the Press Democrat’s magazine and online properties—is headed up by lobbyist and developer Darius Anderson, a man of increasing infamy around these parts.
Anderson, speaking at a CNPA convention in Sacramento earlier this year, emphasized his desire to own more newspapers (to wit: he wants to “rape and pillage” other media properties). The Napa Valley Register, located just over the hill from Anderson’s home in Sonoma, makes for a convenient newspaper to rape.
It might also be an easy one: I called the Napa Valley Register repeatedly today for a confirmation or denial of the rumor, and for hours, there was no answer. How does a newsroom get tips without answering the phone? (Neither the Sonoma Valley Sun nor William Hooper, one of the main investors of Sonoma Media Investments, responded today to calls either.)
The Napa Valley Register predates the Civil War—it was founded in 1853. Now, 160 years later, the paper is published by Napa Valley Publishing, which also publishes a series of smaller newspapers throughout the Napa Valley: the St. Helena Star, the Weekly Calistogan, the American Canyon Eagle and Hispanos Unidos. (Presumably, those papers would be included in a sale of the Register.) Napa Valley Publishing is owned by Lee Enterprises, which is headquartered in Iowa.
Meanwhile, Darius Anderson has been in the pages of his own paper quite a bit this week.