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Owners of Bay Windows, South End News put the papers up for sale

Move would end nearly two decades of ownership for Sue O’Connell and Jeff Coakley

The owners of Bay Windows and the South End News are selling the papers.
The owners of Bay Windows and the South End News are selling the papers.Image courtesy of Bay Windows

The co-owners of the South End News and Bay Windows are putting the publications up for sale after nearly two decades of ownership.

Sue O’Connell and Jeff Coakley announced the sale on Thursday, saying in an article that appeared on the front page of both papers that they are “inviting community leaders, business owners, nonprofits, educational institutions and others” to consider purchasing the publications.

They said they’re committed to thinking creatively and working with potential buyers to provide “an equitable path to ownership.” Potential models could include a nonprofit conversion, government support, a media merger, or community ownership.

While open to selling the papers separately, Coakley said they are encouraging prospective buyers to purchase them together, in part because the papers share many advertisers. Coakley and O’Connell are the primary staffers, but they work with “a large assortment” of freelance writers, photographers, and a graphic designer, he said.

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Coakley said the main reason for the sale is that they are both busy with other projects. Coakley has been living full time on Nantucket for the past year and has become involved with a nonprofit there. O’Connell, meanwhile, has another full-time job as an on-air news personality with NBC Boston/New England Cable News. “We are finding that our time has become so stretched that this was the right moment to make this move,” Coakley said.

The papers are published in print editions every other Thursday. Both were launched by separate founders roughly four decades ago, with the South End News covering Boston’s South End and Bay Windows focusing on the LGBTQ community. Bay Windows’ circulation is about 20,000, while the South End News has around 14,000 readers.

Coakley and O’Connell purchased the papers in 2003 from Jim Hoover, who had bought both of them in 1985.

“Over the past two decades, we have met business owners, nonprofit leaders, artists, activists, chefs, politicians, city employees and community members. It has been the experience of a lifetime,” O’Connell and Coakley wrote in their announcement. “Now it is someone else’s turn.”

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Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.