Vesta Copestakes - Publisher
Vesta Copestakes. – Publisher of the Sonoma County Gazette
Vesta is the publisher of the Sonoma County Gazette, a free newspaper with the 2nd largest distribution of local newspapers in Sonoma County. It was not always that way.
Vesta , who has a background in advertising, was instrumental in publishing a newsletter for the Forestville  Chamber of Commerce several years ago. This publication had a limited distribution, and spoke mainly to the issues surrounding the Forestville  area. With time, the Chamber did not feel that the newsletter was serving much of a purpose and Vesta took it over as a challenge, as well as an opportunity to expand her news gathering and publishing skills with a focus on local community events and developments.
This publication is supported entirely with paid advertising, with an emphasis on local community shops, services, and other activities. She views the publication as being fueled by “citizen journalism” meaning that almost the entire editorial content is contributed by members of the local communities. As such, it retains a folksy, pertinent, and timely insight into what is happening throughout Sonoma County. One of the mottos that describes the impact of her publicatiion is “LOVE where you LIVE”.
Over a period of several years, she expanded her areas of coverage, moving outward from the Forestville  area to include the Russian River area, West Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, and areas east and south of Santa Rosa. Today she has a readership estimated at over 130,000-150,000 people who read her publication either in print or on her website ( Although her publication is put out once monthly, editorial content is added on a daily basis to be included in the published version later that month. If you want the stuff that is “hot off the press”, look online.
In addition to publishing her newspaper once a month, she also produces a Small Shops Shopping Guide over the holiday season that focuses on locally owned businesses, and presents stories and information about various owners and products, consciously staying away from “big box” stores. She also publishes a Gardener's Resource Guide in the spring, as well as A Vacation At Home Summer Series of publications.
This is an amazing amount of production for Vesta and her daughter (occasionally helped by her 8-year-old granddaughter) that provides an immensely important and valuable community service. She has hired 7 delivery people who are paid hourly to distribute her publication to over 300 newsstands as well as 600 coffee shops, stores and book shops.
The next time you are enjoying a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop, pick up a copy of the Sonoma County Gazette and be amazed. Recommend it to your friends. Take a little bit of time during the day to look at the website. I'm sure you'll find something of value and interest .