The Seal Beach Sun (formally known as the Journal) has been The Local Paper since April 1967. That was when Grace Campbell, along with her partner Jules Schwartz, launches vol. 1 no. 1 of The Journal.
It was actually revived from an earlier version, which Campbell and Schwartz’s company, C&S Enterprises, discontinues in 1963 after a short life. The Journal grew out of Campbell and Schwartz’s publication, The Shopper, which Schwartz described as a penny-saver type of advertising supplement. Campbell got the idea after her neighbors there warmly received her newsletter, The Rossmoor News, published in 1959. The Journal’s goal was to be “an intimate and personal record of your days and achievements,” it’s first editorial read in 1968. The monthly periodical soon grew into a weekly as local residents who felt they were being overlooked by the larger daily newspapers in the area appreciated it.
The Journal covered the areas of Seal Beach, Huntington Harbour, Sunset Beach, Surfside and College Park East. One of the lead stories in the first issue of The Journal was about plans for a new Sunset Beach Aquatic Park-a debate that still continues off and on these days.
Before the Journal, Seal Beach’s first newspaper was called the Seal Beach Post. Then there was the Seal Beach Wave. These papers were both bought out and merged to the Seal Beach Post and Wave.
The Post and Wave became defunct sometime before The Journal began publishing, during the downfall of its owner, Bill Robertson, owner of the controversial Airport Club gambling casino.
Grace Campbell bought out Jules Schwartz for the rights to the Journal in 1974. In 1975, Campbell sold The Journal to six energetic young people who were eager to give the paper a different focus. The new owners and Editor’s of The Journal were Lou and Barbara Fryer and Dean and Carolyn Wylie, and Ben and Cathie Bradlee.
Ben Bradlee is the son of Ben Bradlee who made his name with the Washington Post. He was the Editor who gave the break to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to pursue the Watergate Burglary. It was that event which shadowed the demise of Richard Nixon’s political career in the 1970’s. Barbara Fryer eventually became a teacher in the Journalism Department at CSULB. Two former Journal Editors, the Author of this article, Dennis Kaiser, current Sun editor, and Tom Graves were students of Fryer. The review of Southern California Journalism, a newsletter published from CSULB, mentioned Fryer’s and her partner’s take over of The Journal.
“While trying to overcome this neglect by the ‘Big’ newspaper from Long Beach, the citizens didn’t do any better with the ‘Little’ newspaper in Seal Beach,” the article said. “Little more than a propaganda sheet for the local republican party, the Seal Beach Journal until recently was owned and edited by a local woman who had no understanding of journalism and little regard for fairness in reporting community events, issues, and politics. It was disparagingly called ‘The Urinal.’”
Fryer reflected on her time at The Journal in a phone interview this week. “When I didn’t hate it I loved it,” she said. “I remember doing everything. We delivered 22,000 papers after we published and that took another day and a half.” Fryer said the job was tough, but there were a few accomplishments. “We probably saved a few palm trees,” she said. “And we took a lot of stands that cost us some major advertisers.” Today Fryer is an Editor at The Tustin Weekly.
Fryer and company sold The Journal in 1977 to Jim and Sylvia Schaeffer, who carried on the spirit of professionalism that began at The Journal. During the Schaeffer’s tenure with the paper a seasoned reporter named Bill Quinn joined with them and spearheaded the publishing of the Harbour Sun. Quinn eventually edited various editions of The Seal Beach Journal, wrote numerous news and feature articles and editorials. He was best known for his humor column, “Life Spins.” Quinn stayed on with The Journal after the Schaeffer’s sold the paper to Hollywood Publisher Chuck Riley, on Aug. 15, 1980. Bill Quinn died in 1987. He had been publishing the Long Beach News at the time, according to Mike Rocci, a former production manager at the Journal. Many residents of Seal Beach remember Quinn fondly. His Wife, Adele Faulkner-Quinn, an internationally known interior designer, donated her talents to the interior design of Interval House.
Riley and his wife Bunny sold the publication, which had then grown to include the Rossmoor- Los Alamitos Journal, to Vance Caesar, former general manager of the Long Beach Press- Telegram. One of the first things Caesar did was return The Journal to its original tabloid format. Under Caesar, The Journal had grown to 30,000 distributions and an average of 40 pages per week. The Journal is now called The Sun and is distributed to the areas of Seal Beach, including Surfside and Leisure World, in addition to parts of Belmont Shore in long Beach; Rossmoor and Los Alamitos, including El Dorado Park Estates in Long Beach, Huntington Harbour and Sunset Beach.
Meet our writers:
Charles M. Kelly
Charles M. Kelly is the assistant editor of the Seal Beach Sun, the Catalina Islander, and OC Prime. He was born in Long Beach, raised in Compton and Long Beach. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He covers crime and city government.
Ben Singer is a Los Alamitos-based freelance writer and communications consultant. His interests include healthcare, advocating for children and adults with special needs, golf and current events. He began his writing career as a comedy writer, authoring an Emmy-winning half-hour comedy for KCET/Los Angeles as well as network and cable TV.
He was named a 2014 “Made a Difference” award winner by the Greater Anaheim SELPA’s Community Advisory Committee in May 2014 for volunteerism in support of the AYSO Region 154 VIP Soccer. The program serves nearly 150 children and young adults with special needs locally.
Lisa Lee was born in Pennsylvania and moved to California in 2006. She has a bachelor of science degree in biology from Penn State and a master of arts degree in community counseling from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She has extensive experience supervising clinical treatment teams working with children who have special needs. Lisa is mother to one daughter, Isla, and resides in Los Alamitos. Lisa works as the community relations director at the Youth Center in Los Alamitos.
Since retiring Ellery Deaton has served the Seal Beach Community as Planning Commissioner, Councilmember and currently, Mayor. During her time as a teacher and after retiring, she spent nine years on the Seal Beach Planning Commission helping to keep each neighborhood in Seal Beach the unique communities they are.
Ellery enjoys solving problems for the benefit of residents and businesses, balancing the city’s budget while beautifying the town and working with service groups and non-profits to help Seal Beach enjoy an unparalleled quality of life.
Lara Anderson is a resident of Huntington Harbour and writes human interest articles about local events, neighborhood news, and life near the ocean. Prior to moving to Huntington Beach and dedicating herself to a career in real estate as a licensed salesperson and broker, Lara was elected to the Dana Point City Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, receiving the most votes in Dana Point’s history. She also has the distinction of holding the record for the youngest council member and Mayor of Dana Point, leading the city in the years 2006 & 2012.
Lara was named the 2010 Citizen of the Year by the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce. She is the former President of the Animal Rescue Foundation of Dana Point and has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Lara has worked in the film and publishing industries. She and her husband Andrew are former foster parents, and now parents of two young children.
Debbie Machen is a Seal Beach resident and business owner. Her company, MarketSnag specializes in getting businesses found on the Internet. An avid community supporter, she is the immediate past President of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce, the chair of the Thanksgiving Community dinner, Co-Chair of the Centennial Marketing Committee and sits on the Friends of the Library Board. Deb is primarily interested in community and business concerns in an around Seal Beach.