WOODINVILLE — The Woodinville Weekly is under new management.
On Monday, July 29, long-time owner Julie Boselly turned the keys over to Eric LaFontaine, chief executive officer, publisher and co-founder of EastSide Media Corp.
“This past week or so has been very emotional for me. My mother started the Woodinville Weekly in November 1976. I officially started working at the paper in November 2001,” Boselly said. “I decided to sell the paper because the industry has changed, the community has grown and I wasn’t changing or growing with it. I knew someone else would have better ideas and could spark excitement in the community again.”
LaFontaine was ecstatic with the acquisition of the well-established community news provider that has been covering all things in and around Woodinville for the past 43 years.
“This is probably one of the proudest moments of my publishing career. The Woodinville group of papers (The Weekly, Northlake News, and Valley View) are a great foundation for the beginning stages of our company’s growth and development. After publishing other corporation’s newspapers, it feels like my career has come full circle now that I'm an owner.”
LaFontaine is a past publisher of the Othello Outlook, a weekly publication formerly owned by the Zaser-Longston families. He’s held concurrent publisher positions at the Columbia Basin Herald, a five-day daily in Moses Lake, and Hagadone Digital Washington. In 2017, he accepted a regional publisher position with Sound Publishing, which brought him back to the west side of the state.
New ownership often dictates drastic alteration, but LaFontaine says he doesn’t foresee any major changes to the Woodinville group publications.
“I don’t intend to make any big changes. The model, staff, and brand are already very strong. I believe the unique skill sets that our corporate team brings, in addition to our regional editor, will allow us to create a unique daily news experience that begins in Woodinville.”
LaFontaine hopes to maintain current personnel as well.
“We plan on retaining all staff,” he said. “I think our startup energy will provide a shot of adrenaline to the team, product, and quality of journalism. We have a very talented managing editor in Bob Kirkpatrick, who will play an important role in creating a better overall news experience.”
Kirkpatrick is an award-winning writer and photographer. He has 13 years of experience as an editor and has worked in radio and television.
Boselly will stay on as the bookkeeper for the time being and said she will be involved (with the three titles) as much as LaFontaine wanted her to be.
She believes the Eastside Media group is the right fit for Woodinville.
“Eric and his team are exactly the people I hoped would come in and keep the local news alive. I’m incredibly grateful, and I feel like my mother would be pleased as well.”
About EastSide Media Corp
LaFontaine along with Mike Flynn, former president and publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal and longtime executive for United Press International, and Patrick Scanlon, a former Board Member of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and VP of USA TODAY Sports, co-founded the EastSide Media Corp in January 2019.
Bellevue-based EastSide Media Corp embraces a digital-first philosophy when it comes to area news coverage and business.
“We have a very different model of hyperlocal journalism and being the only locally owned media source on the eastside truly means we’re invested for the right reasons,” LaFontaine said. “This is a long-term play. We intend to save the region from being a “news desert” and turn into a thriving forest.”
Invigorating local journalism
In his 24-year tenure at the Business Journal Flynn championed leadership community events, like Women of Influence, 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, 40-Under-40 and focus on small and minority businesses that built the business publication’s reputation.
He envisions similar opportunities with EastSide Media Corp.
“There are a number of Eastside events that can be created to help bring a closer relationship among Eastside communities and those will be a priority of EastSide Media Corp as we grow in impact and appeal for our region,” Flynn said.
Scanlon, who also serves as executive chairman, will play a major role in helping solve the region’s news desert by ensuring readers have access to local, relevant and original content.
“The Eastside is an economic engine that is helping to fuel the vitality of the Seattle area,” Scanlon said. “The communities here deserve a modern news and information service equal to the innovation and vision that drives their day-to-day lives.”