Wanna be a mediamogul?

Small-town Idaho paper up for sale


Ever wonder what it would be like to be part of the fast-paced, exciting and glamorous world of newspapers? Here's your chance.

The Western Canyon Chronicle is up for sale, giving any would-be newspaper publisher/editor/reporter the chance to scour Parma, Wilder, Greenleaf and Notus for news. And all for just $25,000.

The sale price includes two computers, software, furniture and the periodical's permit. "We're not real heavy on the assets," said current publisher/editor J. Christina Hodgson.

The paper, which has 365 subscribers and an additional 300 single-copy sales in 12 retail locations, started in 2002, just after Hodgson gave birth to her son.

The wildlife biologist was at an agricultural laboratory in Parma but wanted to find a profession with more flexible hours, so she did the logical thing and started a newspaper. The venture started out as a kitchen-table-based business, eventually moving into her basement and finally to some rented office space in Hodgson's most-recent business, Osprey's Catch Books and Comics.

While Hodgson has no formal journalistic training, she did talk to the staff of the student paper at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology while living in Boston. After seeing the paper put together on desktop computers, she figured it was something anyone could do.

"It came to me in a blinding flash that I knew, if I was going to start a business, I knew what it was going to be," she said.

Since the area lost both the Parma Review and the Wilder Herald in the 1990s, Hodgson said the community was in need of an information outlet, and she decided to step up and fill the gap. For the last five years, the paper has published articles about community and church events, schools and town meetings every other week, in its roughly 20 pages.

Hodgson even hired a reporter, Karen Strickler, who holds a Ph.D. in pollination biology of blue orchard bees, to write about half of the coverage area, while Hodgson took care of the other half. Strickler has since left the paper, but Karen Wagoner has picked up the slack in Notus and Wilder.

Just last week, Hodgson filed paperwork to make the paper into a weekly publication, something she feels will make the business more profitable for any potential buyer.

Hodgson sees one of two futures for her little paper. The first is that a new owner steps in and runs the paper, with Hodgson offering to stay on as a reporter. The other is that the paper is sold, but the buyer hires Hodgson as a managing editor to run the day-to-day operation.

For more information, call Hodgsonat 208-722-5610.