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Small, Indiana daily to shut down Saturday

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by franticscribe, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    The Noblesville Daily Times, which was started a few years ago, is shutting down this weekend.

    http://www.county29.net/cms2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17729&Itemid=230

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080827/BUSINESS/80827032

     
  2. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    In its directory, three sports people are listed.
     
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Small paper, but it's in an affluent area north of Indy that the Indy Star has been pounding for years. I know several people up there who get the Indy Star for free, though they never asked for it.
     
  4. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    They won't get it free anymore.
     
  5. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    This newspaper was a decent idea, just hard to start up a daily from scratch and go with it.

    The backstory is this:
    There was a longtime daily called the Daily Ledger that covered the county. CNI bought its parent company (Topics Publishing, which had the Ledger & a bunch of weeklies) several years ago. When Gannett bought CNI/Indy Star, they got the Ledger, too.

    Hamilton County is the wealthiest county in Indiana, but most of the $$$ is in the southern half of the county (conversely, it's also the half of the county that's most likely to identify with Indianapolis and not the suburban community). Gannett decided to eliminate redundancy and target the southern half of the county with zoned daily editions stuffed into the Star, and didn't want to cannibalize itself, so it cut the Ledger back to 2-3 days/week (I think they eventually got back up to 4 days/week) and cut its coverage area to the northern half of the county ... essentially making it a standalone version of one of the Star's zoned editions.

    Community outrage results, of course.

    The Daily Times was a *tiny* weekly/shopper that immediately tried to fill the void by producing a countywide daily. Schurz hired a FT staff, and really tried to do the right things and put together a decent paper. It's just very, very difficult to start a daily from scratch with virtually no infrastructure already in place to market & distribute the paper.

    They made a few mistakes along the way (besides one of my all-time favorite blooper headlines, which had a cop admonishing teens about "wreckless driving") ... basically, from a sports perspective, they put out a paper that would've been *great* for a rural community that embraced high school sports first, last and everything in-between, but it didn't necessarily work for a community that follows its high school teams, but also craves a big-city image, and therefore wants news of the Indy pros, colleges, et al. It went too hyper-local -- and was very game-coverage focused, and early, so game-coverage focused that it was running loads of gamers on summer-league (post-season, post-state tournament) high school baseball games that weren't much more than exhibitions. They pretty much ignored the Indy pros/area colleges and went with a prep-centric, game coverage-centric sports section. That said, preps-wise, they covered *everything.* It would've been a great sports section for that community in 1965 ... but that community changed a ton between now and then.

    The news side wasn't terrible -- other than that hideous headline -- but everything they did was largely duplicated by one of the Gannett papers (either Indy or the Noblesville Ledger), and the Gannett papers had a lot more infrastructure behind them.

    Apparently, the Times gave up on the southern half of the county. I was reading someone who lives in Fishers (rapidly-growing town just northeast of Indy) say they got their paper mail-delivery *one day late,* every day (in the home circulation area) and the paper didn't even really try to hit that market.

    That, and their first publisher was not the most ethical person I've ever known. He set the initial direction of the paper -- and helped create its hyper-local focus (his success had come at small, rural papers ... didn't understand the different readership of an upscale suburban community, where names/faces journalism doesn't work as well) -- and it was hard to deal with.

    They do lose three sports jobs. The SE had been pulled out of retirement -- he had been the SE of the previous daily prior to hanging up the pen the first time -- and my guess is, he's probably headed back to retirement, with a little bit of stringing on the side. Hopefully, the other two staffers will be able to land on their feet somewhere.
     
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