New Publisher For Pacific Sun

Marin County’s Pacific Sun newspaper, a weekly journal that has chronicled the life and politics of the region for almost 50 years, has been acquired by one of the shareholders of the current owner.

The new owner is Bob Heinen, one of the initial employees and an early shareholder in Embarcadero Media, the Palo Alto-based company that has owned the Sun since 2004.

Heinen, who will relocate to Marin from Menlo Park and become publisher of the Sun, served as a senior financial and operations manager in Embarcadero Media until 2005, when he left to pursue other media-related projects.

The sale marks just the third change in ownership in the history of the Pacific Sun. Mill Valley resident Steve McNamara purchased the young paper in 1966 from its founders, Merrill and Joann Grohman, and grew it into an award-winning newsweekly known for its quality writing, environmental advocacy and commitment to journalistic independence and building a strong relationship with the community it serves.

Embarcadero’s president and CEO, Bill Johnson, predicted the transition would be seamless. Except for current publisher Gina Allen, who will return to overseeing Embarcadero’s Pleasanton office, the current Sun staff will remain and the paper will continue operating out of its offices in downtown San Rafael. Editor Jason Walsh and Advertising Director Linda Black will both continue in their important roles.

“We are proud of our stewardship of the Sun over the past eight years, and of successfully navigating through the challenging business environment brought on by the Great Recession,” Johnson said.

“Bob and I have worked together for over 30 years and he has always yearned for the opportunity to build his own enterprise,” Johnson said. “When he approached me with his desire to buy the Sun, it made perfect sense. He will be a steady leader for the Sun, and be able to devote all his time and energy to building on its substantial past successes.”

Heinen said he intends to be a hand’s-on publisher and become fully engaged in the Marin community.

“The Sun is fortunate to have an outstanding staff that cares deeply about its community and connecting with its readers, whether 24/7 via PacificSun.com or in creating a high-quality paper each week,” Heinen said.

“My job will be to make sure they have the resources they need and to get out and represent the Sun in the community.”

Since leaving Embarcadero, Heinen served as a consultant to TotalPaas.com as well as other digital media start ups, and as CFO to Metro Newspapers in San Jose.

He said he is committed to expanding the Sun’s popular website and will be introducing a new online community resource website in early 2013.