Washington-based Free Press Publishing acquires three newspapers

Apr 1, 2020

CHENEY, Washington — Free Press Publishing has acquired three publications in less than a month.

The Cheney-based community newspaper company purchased the Whitman County Gazette and Colfax (Wash.) Daily Bulletin, effective March 1. The purchase follows the acquisition of the Odessa (Wash.) Record on Feb. 15.

The Whitman County Gazette and Colfax Daily Bulletin had been owned by Gordon Forgey since 2001, which he has published since 1985.

“We’re excited that the Whitman County Gazette and Daily Bulletin have joined our family of Eastern Washington newspapers,” Publisher Roger Harnack said. “The newspaper and its outstanding staff are a good fit.”

“By clustering with other newspapers, the Colfax-based publication will benefit from economies of scale,” Harnack said. “That is expected to help boost digital and other advertising and readership products available in Whitman County.”

Harnack credited Forgey for putting together a top-notch staff that continues to thrive and represent the community, despite the downturn of much larger publications in metropolitan areas.

Forgey said the sale was a good fit for all.

“They know the region and the people,” he said. “Most important, they know the value of local, independent news.”

“Community newspapers are not dead, as demonstrated by the Gazette,” Harnack said. “We’re excited about the future of local media in our part of the world.”

The Gazette is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Washington state. A type tray hanging in the newspaper office shows the location as “Colfax, WT,” or Colfax, Washington Territory. Indeed, the newspaper has been published since 1877 — 22 years prior to statehood.

In February, Free Press Publishing acquired the Odessa Record from Terrie Schmidt-Crosbie.

The acquisitions make Free Press Publishing the largest community news organization east of the Cascades.

The company serves approximately 33,000 homes with its newspapers and shoppers — Cheney Free Press, Colfax Daily Bulletin, Davenport Times, Fairchild Extra, Odessa Record, Ritzville Adams County Journal, Spokane Valley News Herald, West Plains Extra and Whitman County Gazette.
Most of the publications serve small wheat–farming communities, and three are the newspapers of record in their counties.

The Cheney Free Press and Whitman County Gazette newspapers also serve the Eastern Washington University and Washington State University areas, respectively, and the Fairchild Extra serves Fairchild Air Force Base, just west of Airway Heights.

Due to the recent growth of the company, Free Press has moved its Ritzville newspaper from a Thursday publication to Wednesday to give in-house press and mailroom staff necessary time to make strict U.S. Postal Service deadlines.