Feb 012013

If there’s any County in North Carolina that needs more news coverage it’s Union. So I am encouraged by the story in today’s Enquirer Journal detailing the changes slated for next month.

Enquirer Journal has always been Monroe’s local newspaper. In years past they tried to expand into Indian Trail and Waxhaw with separate publications. Unfortunately, neither publication proved economical.

This just follows a national pattern, traditional media across the country is under great pressure as readership habits and the Internet news sources have eroded their paying subscribers.

The EJ article announced that they were going to drop Associated Press national and state stories from their content. I’m sure that will be a cost savings to say the least, but state stories are very important to the County. Hopefully they’ll find another source.

The other surprise, at least me, is the reduction of the print paper publication to three days a week, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. With their revamped website, including mobile and tablet formatting, they should be able to bridge the content gap easily, though I wonder if the lack of print advertising will adversely affect their revenue.

The Enquirer Journal is actually the County newspaper in my view.  I am a fan and I’m looking forward to seeing new changes implemented.

More local news, more color coming to the Enquirer-Journal

New, more colorful local news is coming to The Enquirer-Journal.

In March, the newspaper’s content will become increasingly local with the addition of public records news such as court news, property transfers, building permits, marriage licenses and divorce decrees among other items.

To help increase the amount of locally generated information, more local columnists will be added including food, gardening, religion and community columnists.

Most local photos taken by the newspaper’s staff will be published in full color, particularly photos of local high school sports.

With an emphasis on more local content, the use of national and state stories from the Associated Press will be discontinued.

Along with the increase in local news and information, on March 3, 2013, The Enquirer-Journal will change publication of the print edition of the newspaper to Sunday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.  The newspaper’s website, enquirerjournal.com, will be updated with the latest local news, including obituaries, on a daily basis.

Print edition home and mail delivery subscribers will have complete 24/7 access to The Enquirer-Journal’s website, including the e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.   In the coming months, mobile and tablet apps will be added to the ways in which The Enquirer-Journal can be read by subscribers.

via More local news, more color coming to the Enquirer-Journal | The Enquirer Journal.



Dec 032008

I rarely listened to Jeff Katz. I liked Jason Lewis better. Coming from the DC market with Howard and the Greaseman, I thought Jeff was relatively mild.

I probably might have liked him a little more, had he took the time to research the truth about certain ‘conservatives’ who are just CINO. Now, I know some of the area Democrats are just as bad — it’s hard to ignore the nonsense with our roads. But just because the Dems don’t police their own, doesn’t mean conservatives can be as hypocritical.

jeffkatz.jpgI just don’t know why someone doesn’t just sue North Carolina over the road fund mismanagement, instead people just keep electing them. It’s no secret that NC’s dwindling newspapers have been carrying Democrat water for years, hiding the NCDOT bodies anytime the greed level forces one to the surface. Is that a mixed metaphor?

Considering how many Damn Yankee Democrats that have moved to NORTH Carolina over the last few years, it’s only a matter of time before they take over. But don’t think that things will change much, you know what they say about birds of a feather — but it is only the the republican gelatin-hawks that get deep-fried.

Counties with a large numbers of R’s like Union won’t be much better off, but just maybe Charlotte will get a few crumbs. (Insert an Oliver Twist plea here.)

In the meantime, I find it amazing that Yankee Democrat refugees from New England, New Jersey and Pennsylvania who have moved here to escape the crushing taxes and declining quality of life only to elect the same kind of liberals nimrods they ran away from up north. What was the definition of insanity again?

Back to Katz.

Perhaps what stuck in my craw about Jeff Katz was that he failed to make the simple distinction between real Republicans and those who wore the name as a badge — a camouflage. For example, Katz had nothing but high praise for former State Senator Robert Pittenger. The same Senator Pittenger who conjured up a fancy state enacted annexations to real-estate deals in Union County. Even now, he’s playing games in Waxhaw with 30 acres of property he gave the town a few years ago as a mouth shutting incentive. Not that it should be any surprise. In Union, political party is often just a uniform, you wanna play ball, you have to wear the right duds.

Disregarding his poor character judgment, the Jeff Katz firing has the smell of Obama political correctness creeping into WBT. Leaving him in place is akin to waving a red flag at the bulls running Charlotte. In economic bad times, neutral pays better.

As much I like and admire Tara Servatius talents, I don’t think she has the ‘gravitas’ to follow Rush Limbaugh, the king of talk-radio. It’s like eating heaping mounds of hormone injected red meat for 3 hours and then WBT serves you a free range chicken.

Besides, how are you supposed to get your mind off of road-rage with Tara?

Jun 272008

The laws of economics strike newspapers just the same as any other business and recent corporate-wide cutbacks have effected the Charlotte Observer (the 44th largest nationwide) for pretty much the same reason, the County Edge came within a hair’s breadth from closing for good last week.

Readership brings advertising and advertising is revenue. Evidently, people are not reading newspapers the way they have in the past.

The Charlotte Observer

    Circulation for six months ended March 31:change, year to year.

  • Daily circulation: 210,616 -2%
  • Sunday circulation: 264,170 -2%
  • 2007 revenues: $169.2 million -4%

Overall reach of audience in market including Web site in last 30 days: 991,925
Total unique users: 2.4 million a month.

Charlotte Observer: Observer cuts staff to tackle industry challenges
The Reporter
Major changes in staff at the Observer’s Neighbors of Union County bureau have taken place; reassigned or employed elsewhere are reporters, Rebecca Sulock, Ryan Basen and Shawn Cetrone, leaving Mike Torralba, Cliff Harrington, Esther Robards-Forbes and editor, Lisa Hammersly in the Monroe office.

With as much graft, corruption and secret meetings going on Union County government, the last thing we need is three less reporters poking around in all the dark nooks and crannies. Perhaps one would have found the mysterious and so far illusive truth that Commissioner Pressley recently referenced in an anti-voter tirade.

Since Union County only gets the smallest TV coverage from Charlotte stations and our only local talk radio station reflects the bias held by it’s advertisers, the importance of good newspaper coverage is critical to keep people informed.

Investigative journalism brings into the public view, the very corruption we now see displayed on the front pages. Would we know today about the sweetheart sewer deals for Allan Baucom’s campaign contributors? or taxpayer funding of criminal lawyers for commissioners under FBI investigation? Maybe not.

We need strong local reporting and the Neighbors of Union County’s bi-weekly publication is a very important part of our information network.

Support your local newspaper

The Enquirer Journal (cir. approx. 8500), does a good job covering Monroe and county government issues. In fact, over the past two years, the paper has improved greatly and with only a few miscues during this past election, the EJ has become a must read, for both coverage and editorial content. Additionally, the EJ launched two weekly publications last year, the Indian Trail Trader and the Waxhaw Exchange to cover issues effecting each area.

The Union County Weekly (cir. appox. 20,000, mailbox delivery Fridays and available in stands) is another good source to keep abreast of the latest issues, both for Union County and western municipalities.

Contrary to the ‘Press Woes’ story on the front page of the late to print June 20th edition of the County Edge, Ritchie Starnes, editor, publisher and primary reporter, had decided to shut down after more than two years of publication. Ritchie began spreading the bad news of the papers demise early last week, telling his freelancers he was closing on Wednesday.

Saved at the literally the last minute; a couple of investors arrived to rescue the Edge with an infusion of cash and advertisement. After-which, Starnes updated the Edge’s web publication over the weekend and had hard copy available by Wednesday of this week.

Frankly, I don’t see Union County and it’s cast of characters with Mr. Starnes’ perspective — not even close. Oftentimes, his personal bias annoyingly leaks from the editorial page into his story copy. Occasionally he hits one out of the park or the opposite, sinking to tabloid depth as his did with the Christie Putman story two weeks ago.

Ultimately, Union County is better served to have the County Edge as a viable newspaper, perhaps success is only a matter of pulling Mr. Starnes’ reporter hat off and allowing him to manage the paper. As with many things, it’s always easier said than done.

The future of Newspapers

It’s a safe bet the whole newspaper industry is trying to figure out how best to deliver the news and sell advertising in an age when readership is waning from year to year. I anticipate a technology that creates a form of electronic paper, you can fold up and carry in your pocket, but is constantly updated through the day by a wireless link. News at your fingertips, without eye strain. Maybe the Village Scribe Online will be available on electronic paper as well.

Chamber president says new Union County Living magazine is BAD for his business

Union County Living
Next week heralds a new publication, the Union County Living magazine, published by Jennifer Tabbit, a Union County resident and entrepreneur.

Despite a nasty attempt by Chamber of Commerce president Jim Carpenter (NOT a Union County resident), who upon hearing about the new Union County Living Magazine, tried to sink her small business before it started by sending a email to all the Chamber members, warning them – not to advertise in Union County Living.

The following is the email sent out by Mr. Carpenter:

Subject: Local magazine – NOT a Chamber publication, please read!

A Union County Living magazine is being launched by a local publications
company. This publication will compete with our annual Welcome: A Guide to
Union County newcomers magazine.

Nancy McCoy Duncan of our staff will communicate with you soon regarding
advertising in your Chamber’s guide, which is distributed in hard copy to
every Chamber member, to newcomers who call or come by the office from all
over the country, placed in offices throughout the county and is on our
website, and to every member prospect. www.unioncountycoc.com. Over 20,000
individuals visit this website monthly and account for over 119,000

Please support your local chamber and Union County’s economy while taking
advantage of this tremendous advertising opportunity. If you are interested
in advertising, contact Nancy today at nancy@unioncountycoc.com or
704-289-4567 ext 11.

Thank you,

Jim Carpenter, CCE

This email was sent on behalf of Union County Chamber of Commerce by ChamberMaster, 14391 Edgewood Drive, Baxter, MN 56425. Report suspected email abuse by clicking here. If you have questions or comments concerning this email or ChamberMaster services in general, please contact us by email at support@chambermaster.com.

ChamberMaster is a registered trademark of MicroNet Incorporated.

Evidently, Union County isn’t big enough to support a quarterly magazine and the Chambers annual publication. I hope Chamber members realize that Mr. Carpenters actions in this matter and countless others, reflect poorly on the membership — a membership of small business owners.

Just in case Scribe readers need any motivation to read the Union County Living magazine, the Scribe will have a column published in the first edition, coming out July 1st and available in Harris Teeter stores.

I will place my column in a tab (tabs along the top) so those who’d like to comment will have an opportunity to do so.

Mar 272006

Read the NewspapersThe May 2nd primary is looming and as it draws closer, our community newspapers, the Enquirer Journal, the Union Observer and the County Edge all plan to publish a review of the office seekers. Usually accompanied by a short bio and the candidates responses to what should to be ‘timely and unbiased’ questions about the campaign issues.

Unfortunately, it seems that the County Edge has something else in mind. Read on and I will explain.

Here is the question the Enquirer Journal asked about the APFO.

Do you support the proposed APFO as a means to manage growth and provide funding for school construction? Why, or why not?

Very straight forward. To answer, the candidate responds simply with their own opinion.

Now contrast the question asked by the County Edge about the APFO:

In regard to the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), should the formula for an impact fee be limited to school capacity only? Why wasn’t such infrastructure like roads, sewer, and public safety been made a part of the equation? Do you feel the APFO will lead to litigation, and if so doesn’t the cost of a lawsuit negate the funds generated by the APFO?

The questions make statements, requiring those who disagree with basis of the question to take issue with the tenet of question before answering. If you agree, half your argument is made in the way the question was asked.

Take the first segment of the County Edge’s question; In regard to the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), should the formula for an impact fee be limited to school capacity only?

The APFO is not an impact fee. An impact fee when allowed by the state, is a fixed fee, charged to every new home built. The APFO allows that in over-crowded school district, the developer may choose to buy capacity, by paying an accessed charge per lot, if the developer does not want to wait until new school capacity is built. This is an important distinction.

The second segment is unfair to all the candidates, none of whom where on the APFO Task force and cannot answer the question; Why wasn’t such infrastructure like roads, sewer, and public safety been made a part of the equation?

The full title of the APFO is “Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance for Schools”. The other elements were not discussed, but could be at any future time.

The third question segment as asked by the County Edge; Do you feel the APFO will lead to litigation, and if so doesn’t the cost of a lawsuit negate the funds generated by the APFO?

Again the question forces to respondent to agree or disagree with presumption of the question. Whether anyone sues the county over the APFO and wins will depend on the language of the ordinance and the circumstances involved. Most any action prohibited by ordinance, is inherently subject to a lawsuit. Does that mean we shouldn’t have APFO? How about traffic laws or a sign ordinance.

The real purpose these questions serve is to acquaint the public with the candidates and their position on the issues. Any thing else diverts attention.