Published: Jul 08, 2008 02:59 PM
Modified: Jul 08, 2008 02:59 PM
Changes challenge newspapers to adapt
Carla Shuford got her paper Sunday.I wouldn't normally start that way, except that Carla didn't get the previous couple of issues. I offered to drive one out to her, but she'd already read her neighborÕs.If your delivery has been erratic, here's the skinny: The News & Observer, which owns The Chapel Hill News, now inserts the News in the Wednesday and Sunday N&O. Some weekend-only N&O subscribers stopped getting their Wednesday paper because the circulation system took them off the distribution list. If you were one of them, we're working to fix this so that you continue to receive both the Wednesday and Sunday papers. Why are we doing this? It saves advertisers money. Instead of paying for two inserts (the fliers inserted in the paper) reaching the same house, they now pay for one. There is another plus. Inserting the News in the N&O lets us reach apartments and some neighborhoods where we can't deliver the News. Circulation manager Sean OR'ourke also says we'll be increasing our press run, growing the Chapel Hill News slightly from 23,000 to 25,000 copies. No date yet on that.CH-CH-CHANGES: Public editor Ted Vaden wrote recently about the N&O's ending the West edition, which served Orange, Durham and Chatham counties. How does this affect local readers? The move to a new Triangle & Co. section means local stories now compete against statewide and Raleigh-centric stories for the best play. When a local story is high profile, like Jesse DeConto's Sunday update on the Eve Carson case, it still gets on B1. Ditto for Matt Dees' Friday story on Chapel Hill police investigating University Massage. But when a story is of primarily local interest, or happens late at night, chances are it will run inside the section or you will see a short summary sending you online.That's why our story on Hillsborough acquiring land for a possible train station ran on 4B Friday. In fact, that story is a good example of our new model: We broke the story Thursday morning at www.newsobserver.com, followed up with a short story in the next day's N&O and expanded on that with additional interviews and information in Sunday's Chapel Hill News.We used that model in covering the Town Council's recent health insurance discussion and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority's rate hike. In both cases readers got the basic facts in the N&O, followed by more information -- including a list of current council members' insurance costs -- in The Chapel Hill News. JOURNALISM CLASS: We turned our syllabus in to The ArtsCenter last week.The syllabus followed up on a conversation we had with director Jon Wilner and his staff this spring. We plan to offer an eight-week basic newswriting class for local high school students starting in September. The class will meet Wednesday afternoons and feature guest speakers from the N&O and Chapel Hill News. Look for more information in the ArtsSchool's fall catalog and in The Chapel Hill News.It's a challenging time for newspapers. In many ways we're working harder then ever. If you have an idea, are sitting at home griping about something, give us a call. We want to hear from you. Thanks for reading.
Mark Schultz is the editor of The Chapel Hill News and the Orange editor of The News & Observer. Contact him at 932-2003 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2008 The Chapel Hill News