“Exciting changes coming”, the identical headlines of Surrey Now and Surrey–North Delta Leader blared.
The two papers are owned by Black Press, and they announced on Thursday (March 22) that they are merging.
“We are extremely excited about the direction we are taking with our improved print and digital offerings,” group publisher Dwayne Weidendorf said in the matching reports.
The new Surrey Now News Leader starts publishing on April 5.
Surrey Now was one of the papers acquired by Black Press in a 2014 swap with Glacier Media Inc. The others include the Langley Advance and Maple Ridge Times.
Black Press at that time already owned Surrey–North Delta Leader, Langley Times, and Maple Ridge–Pitt Meadows Times.
Glacier, for its part, got Tri-City News, Burnaby NewsLeader, Richmond Review, and New Westminster NewsLeader from Black Press.
At the time of the deal, Glacier already owned the Coquitlam Now, Burnaby Now, Richmond News, and Royal City Record.
Glacier also owns the Vancouver Courier, the Westender, and Business in Vancouver.
Reporting on the swap in 2014, the Georgia Straight noted: “The transaction gives Glacier a monopoly over English-language community papers in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster. This is in addition to its monopoly over English-language community papers on the North Shore and in South Delta.”
The Straight also observed: “In effect, it appears as though the two publishing giants are dividing up the southwestern B.C. market, with Glacier taking control over the western section of the Lower Mainland and Black Press being left with most of Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.”
The identical reports didn’t say how many people will be losing their jobs because of the merger.
“While we are elated to move forward with this stronger business model, we do recognize that The Surrey Leader and The Surrey Now have served Surrey extremely well over the past years with award-winning editorial and local advertisement that spoke to our fabulous city,” publisher Weidendorf said. “We would like to thank all the staff, carriers, readers and advertisers, past and present, for their respective contribution to these two historic brands.”
The Surrey Now News Leader will publish every Wednesday and Friday.