MERIDEN — The Record-Journal Publishing Co. announced Monday it has agreed to sell The Westerly (R.I.) Sun to a privately-owned publishing group that operates other newspapers throughout Rhode Island.
The Record-Journal said in a statement to employees that it remains committed to “providing quality local journalism in central Connecticut.”
“The sale will allow the Record-Journal to become a stronger company by strategically repositioning to focus on other growth areas,” publisher Eliot White and assistant publisher Liz White wrote in an email to employees announcing the sale, which will become effective Aug. 31.
Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers, also known as RISN Operations, will acquire The Sun and several related publications, including the weekly Mystic River Press. The RISN group owns three other dailies and six weeklies in Rhode Island, including newspapers contiguous to the Westerly market.
The family-owned Record-Journal, based in Meriden, has owned The Sun since 1999. The Sun is based in the Pawcatuck section of Stonington, Connecticut.
Jody Boucher, group publisher for RISN, said the company is looking forward “to growing our portfolio of local news publications” with the acquisition of The Sun and Mystic River Press.
RISN intends to retain all Westerly Sun employees as part of the acquisition, according to a statement announcing the sale. The publishing group, based in Marion, Illinois, is led by Canadian newspaper executive Steven Malkowich.
“We still believe in the importance of newspapers as a valuable community service, and that’s why we are happy to invest in publications that have been proven to provide that service,” Boucher said.
Eliot White and Liz White, his daughter, said they were pleased to find buyers “committed to strong local journalism and the greater Westerly area.”
The sale will result in a reduction of the shared services between The Sun and the Record-Journal, involving work done by employees in Meriden, according to the email to Record-Journal staff. The company said it plans to use a combination of strategies to mitigate the need for layoffs.
The Record-Journal acquired The Sun, founded in 1858, from the Utter family, fifth-generation owners of the operation. The Record-Journal, which celebrated its 150th year in 2017, is owned by fourth- and fifth-generation members of the White family and recently opened a new office for its digital marketing agency, Homebase Digital, adding several new employees since January.