Saturday, February 7, 2009

Publisher discloses attempt to sell Pt. Reyes Light

Robert Plotkin, the former prosecutor who bought the Pulitzer Prize-winning Point Reyes Light in west Marin County four years ago, explains to readers in a candid letter his paper's financial problems, his attempt to sell the paper and his decision to keep the paper but let his wife take over as publisher.

(We found his letter after reading this item in the SF Weekly which provides some background.)

Plotkin also writes: "In the last year, income at the Light has dropped 37 percent. This is not unique to the Light, although there have been some aggravating factors, namely myself."

He said he talked to two potential buyers for the Light: The Marin Scope chain (which bowed out because it wanted to digest the Novato Advance before taking on another turn around) and a group of investors who wanted to merge the Light with the rival Citizen weekly paper. But the investor group only wanted the Light's name, Web site and files. "Not only were they going to fire the entire staff but they were not going to provide the staff with a severance," Plotkin wrote.

In stepping down as publisher, Plotkin admits "my sensibility is at odds with many in the community." But he says his wife Lys "is kind and lovely and respectful toward everyone she meets." (Photo credit: Chris Stewart, Chronicle, May 2006)

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