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New Media Cuts Deal To Buy Journal Cowles Publishing Subsidiary Acquires Business Tabloid

FOR THE RECORD CORRECTION: Norn Thorpe was assistant business editor at The Spokesman-Review when he resigned to edit the Journal of Business in 1986. A Thursday story reported his former title incorrectly. Correction published March 3, 1995.

The Journal of Business, a twice-a-month business tabloid in Spokane, has been sold to New Media Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Cowles Publishing Co.

The Journal, which was founded in 1985 by Scott Crytser, will continue as an independent newspaper with Crytser as publisher under the direction of New Media Ventures, according to a statement released by NMV Wednesday.

New Media Venture’s purchase of the Journal means Cowles Publishing will own both the Journal and The Spokesman-Review.

W. Stacey Cowles, vice president of Cowles Publishing and publisher of The SpokesmanReview, said the two publications will maintain their separate identities and independence. “We pledge to keep the Journal an independent voice for the business and professional community,” Cowles said.

Terms of the sale, which closed Wednesday, were not disclosed.

The deal calls for New Media to acquire Northwest Business Press Inc., parent company of the Journal. The sale includes Spokane Woman, a quarterly magazine also produced by Northwest Business.

Norman Thorpe, the Journal’s editor, resigned Wednesday to write a book and pursue other interests.

Thorpe declined to say whether he signed a non-compete agreement that would prohibit him from starting another local newspaper in the future.

“I’m confident that the staff of the Journal will continue to produce a strong, vital business newspaper for the greater Spokane community,” Thorpe said.

Assistant editor Richard Ripley has been named to replace Thorpe; managing editor Paul Read will become assistant editor.

No other changes are planned for the newspaper’s 22 employees, whose annual payroll is $650,000, Crytser said.

With its trademark baby blue masthead and an untamed reporting style, the Journal generated a following of 17,500 subscribers, most of whom receive the paper by mail.

Officials declined to disclose advertising revenue at the Journal. The newspaper targets businessto-business advertising accounts.

By joining New Media, the Journal in the future may enjoy wider distribution through electronic services, said Shaun O’L. Higgins, president and chief operating officer of New Media.

“New Media Ventures’ main role will be that of providing the resources for the continuing development of the Journal as a leading information resource for Spokane,” he said. “We hope to extend its current print operations to electronic and other distribution formats in the coming years.”

Crytser said he founded the Journal in 1985. Thorpe left The Spokesman-Review, where he had been business editor, in 1986. Thorpe served as editor of the Journal of Business until Wednesday.

The acquisition is the latest venture by New Media, which last year paid $300,000 to acquire licenses for interactive video in Boise and Spokane.

The company also operates Cityline audio information service in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene; a delivery service for advertising materials and national magazines in Spokane County; the MINERVA computer bulletin board in Spokane; and Spokane Weekly products, including Active Times, a quarterly publication for seniors.

Other area media owned by Cowles Publishing include KHQ-TV, the Nickel’s Worth Classifieds in Coeur d’Alene and the Western-Farmer Stockman magazines.