Marianne Partridge and Joe Cole

Paul Wellman

Marianne Partridge and Joe Cole

New Publisher for The Independent

Joseph Cole Appointed After Four-Year-Old Ownership Lawsuit Concludes

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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The Santa Barbara Independent entered the next phase of its nearly 30-year history on Monday, when attorney Joseph Cole was appointed by the board of directors as publisher. The move marks the end of a four-year-long legal battle between Editor in Chief Marianne Partridge and former publisher Randy Campbell, who relinquished his majority stake in the newspaper on January 7 and was terminated from his position.

A longtime Santa Barbara resident and former publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press, Cole helped bankroll Partridge’s purchase of Campbell’s shares, which was first attempted in the fall of 2009, when Campbell tried to sell his interest to an out-of-town company. Campbell balked when Partridge, exercising her contractual right of first refusal, offered to buy the shares at the same price. She sued over breach of contract, and a series of judges affirmed that Campbell must sell her his shares.

Campbell sued Cole in an attempt to end Cole’s support of Partridge, but that case was dismissed, though Campbell is appealing. Cole began his daily duties on Monday afternoon, when the staff welcomed him with loud and repeated applause during a celebratory meeting that ended with chocolate cake. As publisher, he will manage the paper’s business operations while Partridge remains in control of the editorial side of the building.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to working with Joe,” said Partridge, who cofounded the paper in 1986 with Campbell but has known Cole for many years. “This is a happy day for The Independent.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

So now can we get an Indy website search to list the hits chronologically?

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 4:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Indeed a happy day, congrats and break a leg in this new chapter.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 4:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Couldn't they just have worked it out over a cup of coffee?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Welcome to our side Joe. Glad you're out of that mess over on Anacapa.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 6:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He defected from the Dark Side.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 6:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wonder what Wendy McCaw's response will be.

Moonrunner (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 8:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe he can take the Independent more mainstream and start competing with The Scene, or The Sentinel which seems to be grabbing all the high-end advertisers.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 10:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, you're always good for a laugh. It's as if you're blogging from an alternate universe..! I hope your spaceship stays near, but a respectful distance please.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 11:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe the new publisher might introduce some sort of moderation to the comments section.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 11:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why ruin a good thing?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2014 at 11:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Herschel: Please explain what you mean. Do you want our ideas to be censored?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 1:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Looking back on the way things were, I guess it can be said that Cole didn't see eye to eye with McCaw.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 6:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, maybe he can hire one of the "nannies" from that other increasingly lame-o site. Good grief!

pecanpie (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 10:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Congratulations to both Marianne and Joe - two of the "good guys" in Santa Barbara - and, by extension, to the crew of the Independent who maintained great print journalism for the city during and after the McCaw Meltdown. Here's to a good future for all concerned...

Pagurus (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 11:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just wanted to thank you for being as fair as possible in this world of unfairness.
It's too bad the Montecito based bunch can't stop acting like a bunch of word nazis...
They'll get what's coming to them though! Trust me on that...

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 12:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've never understood the background on this situation. Why didn't Campbell just sell Partridge his shares at the price the out-of-town buyer agreed to? What was he trying to accomplish or avoid? How much has this prolonged legal dispute cost him and her?

Ibid (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Good question, Ibid. As I understand it -- under his proposed sale, he would retain the title and pay of 'Publisher" -- maybe even more pay.

This way, he's got his investment, but no job. (or at least no 'publisher' job.)

maven12 (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Congratulations, Marianne, and Indy Staff.

In the time that this has been going on, it should be noted that the weeklies that were acquired and consolidated have declined dramatically, while the Indy seems only to grow more vibrant, and has maintained better local coverage than most large metropolitan news organizations. Even large newspapers are mostly syndicated content now.

The Indy is amazing, and I'm so happy to see it continue to be independently owned.

hugh (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 5:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Great minds in the same direction! Hooooray!

Brunswick (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 8:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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