The Argonaut, the Westside’s leading local news source since 1971, has been purchased by Tempe, Az.-based Times Media Group — a fast-growing publisher dedicated to building a strong and sustainable future for community news.
The acquisition comes as part of TMG’s purchase of Southland Publishing, which includes Playa Vista Direct magazine and four additional Southern California newsweeklies: Pasadena Weekly, Los Angeles Downtown News, Ventura County Reporter and San Diego CityBeat.
TMG operates 15 Arizona publications, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning East Valley Tribune and award-winning Scottsdale Progress. It is not affiliated with the Los Angeles Times.
Times Media Group President Steve Strickbine describes the Southland purchase as a strategic expansion into Southern California, increasing the reach of TMG’s successful community news operation.
“Our primary goal at Times Media Group is to grow the number of readers we serve with community news, because we believe telling great stories and bringing tangible value to our advertising partners is a recipe for continued success not just in Arizona, but anywhere,” Strickbine said. “The Southland publications have always been special in their connection with the communities they serve. We can’t wait to further solidify that connection and do even more to demonstrate our commitment to our readers, our advertisers and our neighbors.”
Strickbine, 48, quit his job as a CPA in 1997 to start a small community news-paper in North Scottsdale and has grown the company to include TMG’s 15 Arizona publications, the eight former Southland publications, the travel information website phoenix.org, and the distribution and publishing company AZ Integrated Media.
“For years I’ve heard the conventional wisdom about local news being dead — and I couldn’t disagree more. We have always bet against that idea as a company, and we’ve been very successful doing it,” Strickbine said. “We need to work harder and be smarter than the big metro news-
papers, to show aspects of the communities we cover that matter to readers but too often get ignored. We also need to offer better, more engaging advertising oppor-
tunities to our advertisers. If we do that, we have every opportunity to succeed. And the communities we serve will be the better for it.”
Southland Publishing President Bruce Bolkin and Vice President David Comden echoed Strickbine’s sentiments.
“Southland Publishing and I have been very proud of these publications and our employees who have made them such important parts of the communities they serve, and we are confident that Steve Strickbine and his company will be wonderful stewards of these publications and that the readers and advertisers that continue to support them are in good hands,” Bolkin said.
“Local newsweeklies and magazines continue to be a vital part of each community they serve,” Comden added. “While many news outlets reach for a broader audience, readers want and need local news they can count on. I am confident that Times Media Group will do great work for each community they serve into the future.”
Each of the Southland publications is “exactly the kind of special journalism operations we want to be a part of TMG,” Strickbine said. “What these publications do is the most important thing in journalism, at least as we see it. Every community has stories that need to be told. What’s happening at City Hall? What business just opened? Which ones have closed? Who are our leaders, and what sort of transparency and accountability do they practice? The more local we can be, the more in-depth we can be, the better we can connect people to one another and to the community.”
Read more about Times Media Group at timespublications.com.