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Bakersfield Californian sold after 122 years of family ownership, VP responds

Sale is set to become official at the end of June
Posted at 1:12 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 21:03:12-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After 122 years of family ownership, the Bakersfield Californian has been sold to a Canadian publisher, the newspaper announced on its website Sunday night.

The Harrell-Fritts family said in a message to readers on Sunday that Sound News Media has purchased the Californian and its corporate entity, TBC Media.

“We are honored to have been a steward of the newspaper in Kern County, and have loved being part of this vibrant community and providing it with a relevant and reliable news source,” the family statement said.

Vice president and executive editor, Jim Lawitz responded to the impending sale of The Californian by saying:

"It's business as usual. We will continue to serve our readers and advertisers with the same high quality content and superior customer service they have come to expect."

The Californian article states that Sound News Media has agreed to purchase the newspaper and its digital products. No other details were released.

Employees told 23ABC News they were not notified about the sale until the article was posted online Sunday night.

The sale also includes the Tehachapi News and is expected to be finalized on June 30.

Last July, the Californian announced it was moving its operations from its historic Eye Street building -- where it had been located since the 1920's -- to an industrial park on Pegasus Drive. Parts of the Eye Street building were then leased out leased by the Harrell-Fritts family.

Former contributing columnist Justin Salters told 23ABC News on Monday “Local journalism is critical to the health of a community. It’s my hope that the new owners will invest in the health and vitality of TBC, for the sake of all of us who call Bakersfield home.”