Updated: October 21st, 2008 5:22 PM

Wood River Journal sells assets to Express Publishing

Hailey weekly closes its doors


Express Publishing Inc. of Ketchum has purchased assets of the Wood River Journal, the weekly newspaper published in Hailey. The Journal ceased weekly publication with its Oct. 22 edition.

Express Publishing will continue to serve all the communities in Blaine County with Wednesday and Friday editions of its newspaper, the Idaho Mountain Express and Guide. The Wood River Journal name will replace the Valley section in the Wednesday edition of the Express.

Along with the name, Express Publishing acquired archived copies of the Wood River Journal and its many predecessors, and its online presence.

"When the management of the Wood River Journal approached us this month, we were extremely pleased to have the opportunity to maintain local ownership of this valley’s century-old newspaper history," said Express board Chairwoman Martha Poitevin Page.

"The archives are perhaps the most exciting part," added Express Publisher Pam Morris. "Newspapers record history on the fly, and these archives stretch back to the mining days of the 19th century.

"As native Idahoans and residents of the Wood River Valley, our stockholders have always been anxious about the protection of that record as they watched the Hailey newspaper frequently change hands," she said.

Express Publishing launched the Idaho Mountain Express in 1974. All current stockholders have worked for the Express, and the majority are residents of the Wood River Valley.

The Post Co., which manages the Journal’s publishing company, WRJ LLC, is headquartered in Idaho Falls where it publishes the daily Post Register, the state’s second largest newspaper. It also publishes the Challis Messenger, Jefferson Star, Shelley Pioneer and Intermountain Farm & Ranch.

WRJ LLC acquired the Journal in April 2008 from Lee Enterprises Inc., a publicly traded newspaper company that owns the Twin Falls Times-News. The last local owner of the Journal was state Sen. Clint Stennett, who sold it in the 1980s.

"Although the Post is a reputable and experienced newspaper company, and publisher Jerry Brady and his family have an abiding commitment to both the state and newspapers, we believe the interests of this unique region, and the history contained in the Wood River Journal’s archives, are best served with local ownership," Page said.

"The Bradys have stood against the tide of corporate consolidation of newspapers and worked to publish a fine newspaper closely identified with its community. At the Express, we do the same," she said.

The Journal is part of a 127-year succession of newspapers in the valley.

"The Express is proud to add its name to that newspapering line," Page said.

Morris said, "The Express has always been committed to aggressive and objective coverage of news, a lively editorial page, fair advertising practices and an open forum for all opinions.

"Lively discussions in our letters-to-the-editor pages and online comments testify to the community’s support for a strong newspaper presence. Nothing in this purchase will change that presence."

While this acquisition will end the weekly duplication of newspaper editions that has existed since the early 1970s, it will not affect newspaper coverage for all of Blaine County.

"The Express has always provided complete news and advertising coverage in the Big and Little Wood River valleys," Morris emphasized. "We will be able to provide even stronger support for this community, which is especially important given the strains we are all feeling because of national economic weakness."

Express Publishing Inc., is the premier publisher of local news, event information, magazines, visitor guides and advertising in Blaine County, site of internationally renowned Sun Valley ski resort.

Publications include the twice-weekly Idaho Mountain Express and Guide, and online, Tables, the Real Estate Guide, and the Sun Valley Guide.

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