Doug Manchester, the hotelier and new owner of The San Diego Union-Tribune, is interested in buying the North County Times, the region’s other major newspaper, which covers Del Mar to Riverside County.

Lee Enterprises, the Times’ parent company, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, struggling under the weight of nearly $1 billion in debt.

Manchester said he hasn’t made an offer for the paper, but has discussed how it could allow the Union-Tribune to expand.

“Everyone is looking at it,” Manchester said. “It could add to our collection and it could be beneficial. We’re probably the logical buyers, but we haven’t met with anyone on it.”

Manchester and the Union-Tribune’s new CEO, John Lynch, have said they are interested in bringing in television and radio stations into two empty floors of the newspaper’s Mission Valley headquarters.

Buying the Times would give the Union-Tribune a stronger presence in North County and likely enable some consolidation between the two papers’ operations.

Since buying the Union-Tribune, Manchester has said he wants it to be a cheerleader for San Diego and hopes to increase the amount of positive news the paper reports. Lynch has attracted nationwide criticism for saying that he wanted the paper’s sports page to call out opponents to a new Chargers stadium as “obstructionists,” a comment from which he has since backed away.

The Times’ circulation has proven to be more resilient than the Union-Tribune’s in the last few years. Since 2004, the Union-Tribune has lost a third of its Sunday subscribers (some 150,000 readers), while the Times has lost about 15,000. Its Sunday edition, its most circulated, still has about 81,000 subscribers.

Rob Davis is a senior reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact him directly at rob.davis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

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    Written by Rob Davis

    Rob Davis is a former senior reporter for Voice of San Diego. He is currently a freelance writer in San Diego. He can be reached at robdaviswrites@gmail.com or 619.259.0529.

    4 comments
    Jim Abbott
    Jim Abbott subscribermember

    Like a wedding between a groom who is terminally ill and a bride who is dead.

    Peggy Cross
    Peggy Cross subscribermember

    When you consider the press of Hitler (as Dorli Rainey experienced) you understand that a press controlled by one person or entity is a very bad situation for an informed public. Diversity of ownership of the press is a major characteristic of a free society. Manchester should not allowed to purchase/control the North County Times. Period.

    Allen Hemphill
    Allen Hemphill subscribermember

    Manchester could do worse -- I hope he does it just to see the North County Liberals go into shock -- they display pearl-clutching at the very thought of conservative or centrist media, believing that all proper people share their interest in distributing other people's money.

    Will Dawson
    Will Dawson subscriber

    Now the whole county cam n get THE TRUTH FROM DOUG!

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