The Union Democrat is the Mother Lode’s leading information source. The newspaper was founded in 1854 in the Central Sierra Foothills during the California gold rush. Published Tuesday through Saturday in Sonora, The Union Democrat reaches more than 25,000 readers each day. The newspaper’s website, www.uniondemocrat.com, averages 800,000 page views per month.
The main office is located in the heart of Sonora’s downtown historic district at 84 South Washington Street. The news staff, business, advertising and administrative employees work out of this two-story structure – a former bank building constructed in 1913.
A $2.2 million dollar printing and distribution facility was completed in October 2007. Located three miles southeast of Sonora off Tuolumne Road, this building houses a 10-unit Goss Community Press, a Kansa high-speed inserting machine and a state-of-the-art Kodak “computer-to-plate” imaging system. The press crew, packaging team and circulation department work at this facility.
The Union Democrat is recognized as the dominant news and advertising source in the Mother Lode region – encompassing Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. The newspaper is proud of its commitment to and participation in the community. Donations are provided annually to over 150 local fundraisers, non-profits, service clubs and organizations. Some of the sponsorships, support and memberships include: five local Chambers of Commerce, Tuolumne County Historical Society, Sierra Senior Services, Meals on Wheels, Sierra Repertory Theater, Stage 3 Theater, Murphys Creek Theater, Columbia Fly-In, Habitat for Humanity, Vietnam Veterans, Operation M.O.M. (Mothers of Military), Crisis Line, Local Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and Elks Clubs, Humane Society, Sober Graduation, ICES Children’s Fair, Mother Lode Ombudsman, Tuolumne Me-Wuk Tribal Education program, and support of area high school sports and academic programs.
The management team includes Wells Andrews, publisher; Lyn Riddle, editor; Peggy Pietrowicz, advertising manager; Yochanan Quillen, operations manager; Sharon Sharp, circulation manager; and Derek Rosen, information systems manager.
The newspaper has developed an excellent Newspaper in Education (NIE) program with the help of local businesses and community partners. More than 400 local students in 25 classrooms receive copies of the newspaper to study current events and other topics. Sharon Sharp, the NIE coordinator, can be reached at 209-533-3614.
The Union Democrat is owned by Western Communications, Inc., a family-owned company based in Bend, Oregon. The company also publishes newspapers in Crescent City, California, and Bend, Baker City, Brookings, La Grande and Redmond, Oregon.