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In discussions which did not quite conclude before the Chicago Sun-Times announced the demise of three city weeklies, Wednesday Journal, Inc. reached a tentative agreement Wednesday to purchase those papers and continue their uninterrupted publication.

The papers–Skyline, Booster and News-Star-are the last vestiges of the once mighty Lerner Newspaper chain and cover neighborhoods stretching from Lincoln Park to Lakeview, from Ravenswood to Rogers Park.

“Those three flags are part of Chicago newspaper history and are worth preserving,” said Dan Haley, publisher of Wednesday Journal, Inc. “And the neighborhoods they have long covered are vibrant city communities which we know will embrace the kind of relentlessly local newspapers, and now websites, our company has published for almost 30 years. This is going to be fun.”

Oak Park-based Wednesday Journal, Inc. currently publishes six weeklies. Three are in the near west suburbs; three are in city neighborhoods including Austin, South Loop, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, the Near West and Bucktown. The company also publishes Chicago Parent magazine which is distributed across the metropolitan area.

The Lerner titles will be paired with two editions of Chicago Journal to create a group of distinct local papers stretching from the South Loop to Rogers Park. “We will be serving a wonderful marketplace and will be able to offer advertisers opportunities to reach all of the neighborhoods or to choose specific areas they want to reach,” said Andrew Johnston, vice-president of Wednesday Journal, Inc.

Haley offered his thanks to both the Sun-Times and Pioneer Press for persevering to get a deal completed. “We all know the Sun-Times and Pioneer are facing great challenges at this moment and we recognize that these three papers are a tiny part of the puzzle they are trying to assemble. Leaders at both the Sun-Times and Pioneer went the extra way to make this deal happen and to preserve three newspapers at a time when most of the discussion is of newspapers disappearing. We are grateful to them and respect that effort,” said Haley.