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Singleton wins newspaper war in Eureka

In Eureka, Calif. (284 miles north of San Francisco), a daily newspaper owned by a local businessman will close Saturday after four years of battling the town’s longtime daily paper, owned by Dean Singleton’s MediaNews Group, the Bay Area’s largest newspaper publisher.

However, Singleton’s Eureka Times-Standard has agreed to publish the rival Eureka Reporter’s opinion page two days a week — a move which suggests the closure may have resulted from negotiations between the two newspapers.

In August, Singleton sued the Eureka Reporter, claiming that it was selling ads at below cost in order to grab market share. The two papers had also tangled in court over the right to print legal notices, with Singleton ultimately taking away that revenue source from the locally-owned paper.

”It’s satisfying to prevail in battle but, as one who loves newspapers, it’s sad to see one go away, but I’m glad the Reporter’s spirit will live on in the pages of the Times-Standard,” Singleton is quoted as saying in his Times-Standard yesterday.

“Whether it’s health, education, youth, crime, or sports — this was a true community newspaper, owned and operated by someone from this community who cared about it,” said Carol Harrison, a writer for the Eureka Reporter. “It’s a loss, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I’m proud to have been part of it.”

Here’s a link to a statement the Eureka Reporter published this morning. And here’s a link to a 2006 Chronicle story about this newspaper war.

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