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Community Newspapers Group Buys The Californian

East County Community Newspapers, Inc. purchased El Cajon paper The Californian on Jan. 26 for an undisclosed sum.

According to Jay Harn, owner and publisher of the Alpine-based company, Californian seller Central Valley Publishing, Inc., is still holding onto its printing company, San Diego Web Offset.

The sale also does not include the Californian’s contract to operate the Navy Compass, Harn said. The Compass is the Navy’s official newspaper in San Diego.

The deal does include the paper’s name and assets, among which is the Californian’s contracts for legal advertising.

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“It’s a strong asset for a newspaper to have,” Harn said. He would not discuss how much revenue the contract generates. Harn’s other papers have similar contracts with the county, the El Cajon Judicial District and the cities in which his papers circulate, he said.

Harn and his wife, Teresa, have owned the Alpine Sun since December 1992. For several years before that, Jay Harn had worked for several dailies and weeklies in Los Angeles.

Last April, the Harns bought the Lakeside Leader, Santee Star, El Cajon Eagle, Spring Valley Bulletin, Lemon Grove Review and La Mesa Forum.

The Californian will, for the most part, be produced out of his newspaper group’s other office in Santee, Harn said.

Production is similar for Harn’s other papers , most of the editorial and advertising work is done at the Santee office, and the design work is done at the Alpine headquarters, he said. The papers are printed in El Cajon by Web Offset, Harn said.

Harn would not disclose the Californian’s current circulation. His other papers have a joint circulation of 25,000, he said. With the Californian, Harn hopes to boost his papers’ total circulation to 30,000 in the near future.

With the sale, the Californian’s employees found themselves laid off. Harn said he would be interviewing applicants for “several slots.”

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