A chain of community weekly papers in Marin County is apparently interested in buying The Novoto Advance, which announced it planned to shut down due to declining ad revenue. The Marin Independent Journal reports that the Marin Scope chain, which five weeklies delivered for free with separate editions in Mill Valley, Corte Madera/Larkspur, Sausalito, San Rafael and Ross Valley, is extremely interested in the 8,700-subscriber Novato weekly.
"It would be a real sin for the Novato Advance to cease publication," said Paul Anderson, a Marin Scope board member who served as its publisher for 30 years.
Novato Advance Publisher Paul Hutcheson told the IJ that he has been hearing from interested parties about buying the paper. "Maybe something will come out of it," Hutcheson said. "Some of the interested people don't want their names used so I really can't say who."
The Advance, which has covered Novoto for 86 years, is owned by Scripps Enterprises, a privately held company based in Charlottesville, Va.
The IJ also quoted Linda Blum, chief executive officer of the Balancing Element, a Novato-based bookkeeping service, who met with Hutcheson Tuesday and discussed the paper's financial condition.
"There's a large number of people in Novato who want the paper to stay and will do whatever it takes to save the paper," Blum said. "We have to move quickly in order to save our local press. We need more community support."