Sonoma County Independent Adopts New Identity

Redesigned paper has new name, bigger circulation and more arts coverage.

The Sonoma County Independent is no more. It morphed today into a new paper with “more edge” called the Northern California Bohemian.

“What we’ve done is given the publication a major facelift,” said Rosemary Mackay Olson, publisher of the AAN-member paper. “We’re providing a more exciting forum than what we were doing with the Independent.”

The name is the most evident change for the 21-year-old alternative paper, but Olson said the paper is expanding and moving in a whole new direction. The Bohemian hit the streets today with a new design, an increased circulation in Napa and Marin Counties and more cultural reporting.

Just last month the Santa Rosa paper moved into a “hip” new office at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Olson said. The paper will have more coverage of the art scene, but will continue publishing investigative pieces, she said.

Olson projects the Bohemian will reach 100,000 people with its 37,000 circulation, up from the 35,500 papers it was printing as the Independent. The paper started distributing in Napa eight months ago and now — as the Bohemian — will reach as far as Marin County.

“We’ll keep growing,” Olson predicted.

The Sonoma County Independent was first launched in 1979 as The Paper. It was purchased in 1994 by Silicon Valley-based Metro Newspapers Group, a chain with 10 weeklies (including AAN members Metro Silicon Valley and Metro Santa Cruz ). The group has a combined circulation of 280,000.

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