Nearby Weekly Newspapers Formerly Held by Whig’s Parent Company Close

Five weekly newspapers previously owned by the Cecil Whig’s parent company, Chesapeake Publishing, have closed according to published reports.  The papers, including the Oxford Tribune, were sold by the Elkton based corporation in 2001 to the Journal Register.  The Solanco Sun serving an area northeast of Oxford had a strong history, its run going back 118 years.  There is also the Parkersburg Post Ledger, formerly the Christiana Ledger, which was established more than 130 years ago. The other titles are the Coatesville Ledger and the Downingtown Ledger.

We are sorry to hear about the closure of these community voices, weeklies that once served their communities so completely and were eagerly looked for in homes each week. But with so many newspapers have pulling back on content, the outcomes are predictable as subscribers, finding less value in the publications, disappear and advertising revenue declines.  When the times are tough, the strategy has to be to create more value, which for this industry is content.

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3 responses to “Nearby Weekly Newspapers Formerly Held by Whig’s Parent Company Close

  1. Strategy? Since when is shutting newspapers down become a strategy? Tragedy is more like it. The daily-focused newspapers sucked the lifeblood our of these weeklies, left them as mere shells of their former vibrant selves, and then abandoned them along the way to bankruptcy court. What kind of ‘strategy’ is that? The ones that will suffer are the small businesses who used to rely on these weekly newspapers to advertise. Now they have little choice in their markets but to go to the overpriced daily newspaper, the crapshoot of the internet or print their own flyers and hand them out in the laundromats, coffee shops and staple them onto the neighborhood bulletin boards.
    The daily newspaper sucks doggie snot.

  2. Pittsgrugh Phil, Thanks for posting.

    I agree, the incompotency associated with what publishing executives and owners have done to all the nation’s newspapers. You’ll see a piece I posted earlier about why print media is important in the chronological log.

    What kills me is that they keep cutting back on the content right now, in a time when they should do the opposite. Fight for every reader, instead of encouraging them to go elsewhere for news. Well do they expect once they do that, but a loss of more subscribers, followed with the loss of advertising revenue. It’s not hard to figure out.

    We are going to miss these print products. I can’t imagine that management couldn’t be just a little more visionary and manage the current business environment just a little better. Most of these newspapers used to provide profit (after expenses) in the range of 30%, not so long ago.

    Well they were glad to take that cash home when things were good, perhaps they need to reinvest in their core products now and make them stronger for the evolving business model.

    Anyway things for posting your thoughts.

    Mike

  3. Wayne Fenstermacher

    Mike, You are so right about the lack of investment in developing “more” local content rather than less. Embracing the new media is an opportunity rather than a threa that they make it out to be. It’s an opportunity to get more readership across a broader and more diverse spectrum (read: worldwide).

    I used to work for the Sun Ledger in southern Lancaster County. It’s where I got my start as a journalist. We covered some very interesting things – even had a role in providing photos to NBC when the 1980’s Iran Contra Scandal broke – because it involved a local resident.

    However, it wasn’t the same after Jim Wolf sold his interest in the late 1980’s. It was run with news that was “good enough” and “accurate enough” and that lasted far too long. As recently as just a few months ago, the paper’s Web site had inaccuracies about the dates of ownership and even spelled Jim Wolf’s name with an “e” at the end. They’re nit picking issues, but if they couldn’t get something as basic as these things right – especially with the reference material presumably within a few feet of where they worked – what else could be in error under the pressure of deadlines?

    My heart sunk a bit when I read about its demise, but it hadn’t been the “hometown” weekly since the 1990’s and it doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

    I just hope the Rising Sun Herald makes it through this recession. Jim Worlf and I started that in Oct. 1989, so it’s in its 20th year now!

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