Black Press in negotiations to take over NNSL papers

NNSL's Yellowknife office in February 2021
NNSL's Yellowknife office in February 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Black Press Media, the publisher of more than 170 newspapers in western Canada and the United States, is in negotiations to purchase Northern News Services’ newspapers.

The North’s largest print news group, which publishes newspapers serving the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, has been for sale for more than a year.

Rick O’Connor, the president and chief executive of Black Press Media, confirmed the parties were working on contracts but said no agreement to purchase had yet been reached.

The extent of the prospective deal – for example, whether it includes the news operation alone or the printing press and NNSL’s property portfolio (which includes Yellowknife’s 50 Street day shelter, among other buildings) – was not known.



Black Press already owns and operates Yukon News alongside 14 titles in Alberta and dozens in British Columbia.

The company also runs newspapers in Hawaii, Washington, California, and Alaska.

A sale would mark the end of NNSL’s almost 50-year run as an independent publisher. At the moment, seven separate newspapers are published by the company weekly.

Jack “Sig” Sigvaldason, NNSL’s legendary late publisher, established the company in 1972. He passed away in August 2018 at the age of 84.

NNSL’s current publisher, Bruce Valpy, on Monday declined to discuss details of negotiations or Black Press Media’s involvement.

“We’re going to announce as soon as we can,” Valpy said.