For nearly 25 years, the Montecito Journal has been a labor of love — not to mention volunteered slavery — by owners and father-son team Jim and Tim Buckley, who’ve infused their publication with hyper local news, photos of charity events, local columns, some deep-dive analysis, and one of the longest, best, and most argumentative letters-to-the editor pages anywhere. Beginning this January, the Buckleys will be running the Montecito Journal no more, having sold to Gwyn Lurie — a onetime Hollywood screenwriter and former ABC News writer who served eight years on the Montecito Union School Board.
Lurie and a team of 50 mostly local investors have amassed a $2.3 million war chest to buy the paper outright and provide the operating capital to get the new venture going. Lurie said she’s not ready to announce who her new editor and associate editors will be but said longtime editor Tim Buckley will be kept on as chief operating officer.
Given how polarized the national media has become, Lurie said, “Local journalism has grown more important than ever.” Under the new regime, Lurie said the Journal will try to include and reflect an even broader range of community sensibilities, highlighting the breadth and accomplishment of so many residents. Lurie said the new paper would embrace online opportunities and social media and that the paper would play a more active role as an event platform in its own right. Its inaugural event, she said, will be a political debate between 1st District supervisorial candidates Das Williams and Laura Capps at Hahn Hall.