I should first say that I don’t want to come off as being negative about the Enterprise or the Herald. They are a great resource that we link to quite often.
That being said, I picked up today’s edition of the Enterprise and on the front cover there’s a story titled “Enterprise to Merge South County Editions”. In short, the poor economy and insufficient advertising support are forcing the Enterprise to make two changes. The first, they are discontinuing the Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Edition of the Enterprise because it “was the one that didn’t fit.” The second big change: what once was three papers will now be one. The Edmonds, Mill Creek and Mountlake Terrace/Lynnwood editions of the Enterprise will be consolidated in to a single South County edition.
The Enterprise is owned by the Herald, who is owned by the Washington Post. And by Washington Post I mean D.C., as in the other side of the country.
Unfortunately the amount of news in the paper won’t be the sum of the three existing papers. The Enterprise says that “the paper, typically from 12 to 16 pages, will be expanded by 2 to 6 pages based on advertising.” I take this to mean that while I am now reading a paper that has 16 pages of news and advertising relevant to Mountlake Terrace/Lynnwood, the new consolidated paper will increase by 2 to pages while adding news from 2 additional cities. I can’t help but think this will mean less news about my community and my neighborhood.
This also seems like bad news for local businesses who want to advertise. The way the Enterprise sells advertising right now is that you can choose which editions of the paper you want to advertise in. So, for example, a business in Mountlake Terrace could choose to only pay for advertising in the MLT/Lynnwood edition. Unless they rely on more regional business, this is likely what most businesses would choose to do. Now, the same Mountlake Terrace business will be paying to advertise to MLT/Lynnwood, but also to Edmonds and Mill Creek. Sure, the advertisement is going to be seen by twice as many people, but not the people they want to reach.
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