On June 28, Becky and Jack Clark become the new owners of the Idyllwild Town Crier. Following in the footsteps of the Town Crier’s founder, Ernie Maxwell, the Clarks are bringing a local, family-owned paper back to Idyllwild.
For the past 19 years, Tindle Newspapers Ltd., a private British company, has owned the Town Crier. Maxwell and his wife, Betty, published the first edition of the Town Crier in November 1946.
Becky, who retired as editor and publisher of the Town Crier in November 2009, returns to her previous post. But this time, a U.S. corporation, which she and husband Jack own, will own the newspaper.
“This is my dream. I missed it,” she said. “This business has challenges I missed. I don’t think I ever wanted to leave.”
During her unofficial sabbatical, Clark stayed involved in the newspaper business, serving as president and board member of the California Press Association. As she has traveled and seen many other local papers, the Town Crier “is more vibrant than similar community newspapers. And it has to be to keep up with the multiplicity of views and many entities that run the town.”
Looking forward to Independence Day in less than two weeks, Clark said, “The Town Crier may become a free paper only on the Hill. This would serve the community, increase circulation and serve the advertisers.”
Also, the new Town Crier office on North Circle Drive will be a visitor center, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. To enhance this role and maintain the relationship, which the defunct Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce had with visitors, the Chamber has agreed to transfer its phone number, 951-659-3259, to the paper.
“The Town Crier is our local newspaper,” said Clark. “And the community always felt some ownership with the paper. We’re very open to suggestions for re-design of the paper going forward.”
“I’m just glad Idyllwild continues to have a real newspaper locally. And I’m glad Becky is at the helm,” Jack said.
The Town Crier office will continue to sell Luther Weare’s “Essence of Idyllwild,” and will reprint “Trees of the San Jacintos,” which has been out of print for many years.