Santa Barbara News-Press shuts down following bankruptcy filing

July 24, 2023


The Santa Barbara News-Press, a newspaper that had been in circulation for more than 150 years, has shut down after its publisher filed for bankruptcy last week. [LA Times]

Self-described as the oldest daily newspaper in Southern California, the News-Press began publishing in 1855, according to its social media bios. Other sources indicate the predecessor of the News-Press, the Santa Barbara Post, began publishing in 1868. In 1962, editorials published by the News-Press that called out the John Birch Society won a Pulitzer Prize. 

Ampersand Publishing LLC, the entity as which the News-Press conducts business, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for California’s Central District. The decision to file for bankruptcy was made three months prior, on or about May 1, but the newspaper did not announce it and continued its operations.

Likewise about three months ago, the newspaper moved its operations and staff from the landmark building on Santa Barbara’s De la Guerra Plaza to its printing plant in Goleta. The De la Guerra Plaza building had housed the newspaper’s operations for the last 101 years. 

About one month ago, the News-Press stopped printing its newspaper and became entirely digital. 

Following the bankruptcy filing, News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason sent an email to employees stating the publication’s ownership ran out of money to pay its staff. [Santa Barbara Independent]

“I have some bad news. Wendy filed for bankruptcy on Friday. All of our jobs are eliminated, and the News-Press has stopped publishing. They ran out of money to pay us. They will issue final paychecks when the bankruptcy is approved in court,” Mason wrote in the email. 

Businesswoman Wendy McCaw, the ex-husband of mobile phone industry entrepreneur Craig McCaw, purchased the News-Press from the New York Times in 2000 for $110 million. McCaw was previously accused of interfering in newsroom editorial decisions, prompting the resignations of News-Press staffers.

The News-Press has less than $50,000 in assets and $1 million to $10 million in liabilities, according to its bankruptcy filing.

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Now that there is so much bad news, there is nothing special for the interested.

Whether online or in print, there’s few “neutral news” options. I’d enjoy a local newspaper that just tells me what happened. No left/right bias, just the news.

SLO Stringer did an -excellent- job of covering many local events and he is sorely missed. Also Karen V. is a true local reporter but apart from CCN, local news options are severely lacking.

Hopefully this happens to the Tribune and a real paper rises from the ashes!!!

The decimation of local news and the nationalization of our politics is among the worst social developments in the 21st century. Can’t say I was a fan of the SBNP, but it’s sad how easy it is for small institutions to die, and hard to regrow them. Between the Tribune, and New Times we are lucky to still have two print publications in SLO, let’s hope they last.

It’s sad to see all the “thumbs down” your post is getting. Your crime? Being appreciative of still living in a two-newspaper town. How sad and cynical we’ve become.

Thank you! There is not a lot of tolerance for intellectual diversity on this site.

Why is this downvoted? Is ironic agreement with the statement, or do people actually think there is a diversity of viewpoints on local politics on this site.

No “crime” committed. I’m guessing the thumbs down are due to the fact that the two newspapers we have are unabashedly biased. If the Trib and New Times weren’t leftist propaganda, that would be something to be happy about.

A quote variously attributed to any number of folks from Mark Twain to Ezra Taft Benson to Denzel Washington: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

The latter half of that quote applies perfectly to the Tribune and New Times.

Can you give an example? I find the Tribune very credible and rarely if ever truly misinforms anyone. So if you can give an example of what you speak up, I would appreciate it.