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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or
704-289-4567 ext 11.
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 email@example.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.