The Independent is being sold, and one of the buyers is the brother of former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker.
Steve Schewel, president of Carolina Independent Publications, announced Wednesday that the company is selling the Independent Weekly and its associated website, indyweek.com, to Richard Meeker and Mark Zusman.
Meeker and Zusman are the owners of City of Roses Newspaper Company which publishes Willamette Week, the alternative newsweekly in Portland. They also own the Santa Fe Reporter, an alternative newsweekly in New Mexico.
The Independent published its first issue on April 15, 1983.
Richard Meeker is the brother of Charles Meeker.
“I am thrilled that the new owners of the Independent will be Richard and Mark,” Schewel said. “This is the best possible landing place for the Indy. They do some of the best alternative journalism in the country. In 2005, one of their reporters at Willamette Week won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, a unique achievement among weekly newspapers. They know how to run a profitable newsweekly, but at the same time they share our ideals for quality journalism and community service.”
Schewel, in a statement, said he first met and became friends with Meeker and Zusman at conventions of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies over many years. Schewel and Meeker have kept in close touch over the years during Meeker’s visits to the Triangle, and they began discussing the deal several months ago over coffee at The Raleigh Times restaurant.
Schewel noted that his company, CIP, will retain ownership of the Hopscotch Music Festival, which will take place Sept. 6-8 in Raleigh. Hopscotch is not included in the sale to Meeker and Zusman.
“I love Hopscotch,” said Schewel. “It is a huge success and has already become a signature event in Raleigh, and it has given the Independent itself an enormous boost. We will continue the close, symbiotic partnership between Hopscotch and the Independent going forward, even though we will now be under different ownerships.”
Schewel said that the paper is in strong shape, and at the age of 61, he is “ready for some new challenges. It’s a great time for someone new to come in with their ideas and energy.”
The closing date for the sale of the Independent is Oct. 1.