Several Sask. papers, including Prince Albert Daily Herald, face axe if not sold

Star News Publishing, which bought 13 Saskatchewan publications in 2016, is making plans to sell or close every paper it owns in the province.

Star News Publishing, which bought 13 papers in 2016, plans to exit Saskatchewan market

The Dec. 9, 2017 edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald. The paper is owned by Star News Publishing, which said on Saturday that it plans to sell or stop publishing all of its newspapers in Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Sarah Soloducha)

Star News Publishing is making plans to sell or close every paper it owns in the province.

The company bought 13 papers from Transcontinental Inc. in May of 2016.

On Saturday, Star News Publishing president Roger Holmes said the company has plans to "exit the Saskatchewan market."

"I don't want to blame Saskatchewan," he told CBC News. "This is just the way the newspaper industry is going and this is our experience in it."

Star News's 2016 agreement included the purchase of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, which printed its final edition this past week.

The publisher merged some of the 13 papers it bought, and sold the Grenfell Sun and the Broadview Express to Grasslands News Group on Sept. 1, 2016. It has also sold The Southwest Booster in Swift Current.

The company still owns:

  • The Prince Albert Daily Herald and Rural Roots North in Prince Albert..
  • The South Central Star in Radville and Coronach.
  • The Waterfront Press Regional in Lumsden.
  • The Oxbow-Carnduff Herald-Gazette.
The Oxbow-Carnduff Herald-Gazette is likely to be the next to go, with plans to close in less than two weeks unless a buyer is found.

When asked Saturday why the paper was on the chopping block, Holmes, who moved from Alberta to Saskatchewan in the spring of 2016 to run his business, confirmed Star News's plans to sell or close its other Saskatchewan papers.

He said he's hopeful that the Prince Albert Daily Herald will be purchased by another company and remain open, although nothing has been finalized. He said there is no exact timeline on when he plans to close the Herald if a buyer can't be found.

The Herald began as the Prince Albert Advocate in 1884 and has changed hands many times throughout the years.

On Nov. 29, after the news of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald's closure was made public, staff in Prince Albert posted a story online with the headline "We are not closing."

"The daily newspaper is not going anywhere," the article reads. "If any reader, community member or advertising client has been told by any entity that we are closing, then they have been misinformed.…

"The newspaper is strong, it is successful, and it will continue to be both in the immediate future and in the years to come."

Unless a buyer is found, the The Oxbow-Carnduff Herald-Gazette will print its last edition on Dec. 22.

A timeline for the sale or closure of the other Star News papers has not yet been made public.

About the Author

Alex Soloducha

Alex Soloducha is a web writer/reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.