Village Soup Merges Camden, Rockland Newspapers
There’ll soon be one less Village Soup newspaper. The Rockland-based chain announced today that it was merging its weekly paper in Camden, the Camden Herald, with its thrice-weekly paper in Rockland, the Courier-Gazette. The new paper will be called the Herald Gazette and will be published three times a week, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 18.
(Disclosure: my weekly political column appears in the Camden Herald, Courier Gazette and other Village Soup papers.)
The merger will result in the loss of seven jobs, three of them from the papers’ editorial staffs. Current Herald editor Lynda Clancy will become editor of the merged publication.
The two papers already share three sections each week, according to Village Soup general manager Ron Belyea, who said the company’s offices in Camden and Rockland would both remain open. Belyea said the change was the result of “market conditions” and Village Soup’s philosophy of having one newspaper and one Web site serving each county in the chain.
“After three months of assessing the business, it just makes sense,” he said.
In a posting on the Village Soup Web site, company founder and CEO Richard Anderson said, “Combining these publications will achieve paper, distribution, postal and personnel savings while continuing to provide the same quality news reporting that readers of both publications have come to expect.”
Village Soup bought the Camden Herald in June, along with the other papers owned by Courier Publications, including the Courier Gazette, the Republican Journal in Belfast, the Capital Weekly in Augusta and the Bar Harbor Times. At that time, Village Soup closed two weeklies it owned that competed with the former Courier papers.
Belyea said there were no plans for further mergers or closings. “We hope this is it,” he said. “Nothing in life is certain, but we don’t plan to have more next week.”
The Courier Gazette has an average paid circulation of about 6,000 copies a week, according to company filings with the U.S. Postal Service. The Camden Herald’s circulation is about half that.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com, although he’s on vacation from Nov. 14-20 and doesn’t believe portable electronic devices are appropriate in bars.