Canadians acquire another Washington County weekly newspaper

Posted June 05, 2014, at 4:23 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — The Machias Valley News Observer, a weekly newspaper serving the Washington County seat, has been acquired by Canadian ownership.

The newspaper was purchased by Pierre Little, who lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, along with a partner, Toronto-based London Publishing Corp. They purchased the Calais Advertiser, another weekly newspaper in Washington County, in 2010.

In the transaction, finalized in May, The Calais Advertiser Inc. purchased the assets of the Machias Valley Publishing Company Inc., Little explained Thursday. He declined to disclose the purchase price.

The sale takes the newspaper out of the hands of Karen Hinson of Machias and Pat Townsend of Calais. Hinson has served as editor and publisher of the newspaper the past nine years. Townsend had no role in day-to-day operations.

Hinson, 71, said she had no reservations about selling the business to Canadian owners. She has received negative feedback about the sale from “just one person,” she said Thursday.

“My concern was always that the paper would continue,” said Hinson, who will continue to work as editor for a few more weeks.

Hinson said she “woke up one day” and realized she needed to plan for the future. “The obvious choice was to sell it or close it, and I certainly didn’t want to close it.”

Little said he has received no negative feedback about the acquisition.

People in some communities have expressed concern with regard to other acquisitions that news coverage may be downgraded, he said, but it is misplaced, he suggested. “We’re very low-key operators,” he said, “and we want to improve the publication,” as well as enhance the newspaper’s digital media operations.

The Machias newspaper has a paid circulation of about 3,300, according to Little.

Hinson’s husband, Jay, and Townsend’s husband, Gene, acquired the newspaper and published their first edition in 1967.

Gene Townsend is deceased, and Jay Hinson, 92, lives in the Maine Veterans Home in Machias, according to an article posted on the newspaper’s website.

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