Former BI couple’s newspaper biz is booming

Around this time last year, I wrote a story about the Matthees, a longtime Bainbridge couple that moved to a small Eastern Washington town to take over its tiny newspaper.

Buying a newspaper in this day and age might seem about as sane as hiring a battery of scribes during the advent of movable type.

But Imbert and Karen Matthee were undaunted. In short order, they redesigned the paper and gave it its first-ever online presence with social networking tools like Facebook, and later a Web page,

Their success continues to grow. The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association reported this month that the Waitsburg Times’ circulation has increased 30 percent since the Matthees took over.

They’ve also opened an office in the neighboring city of Dayton and hired their first news staffer – a managing editor – to help expand their coverage area and take on some of the varied duties shouldered by the Matthees.

The main office, in Waitsburg, may soon become something of a community information and copy center, with a public-use computer workstation, high-volume copier and image scanning services.

For a more in-depth update on what the Matthees are up to, check out this recent profile of Imbert Matthee by Walla Walla Lifestyles.