By Scott Nishimura firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greater Meadowbrook News is ending print publication and going solely to the web as of Aug. 21, its publisher, Wanda Conlin, said Tuesday.
The twice-a-month print paper’s advertising base had shrunk – along with the base of locally owned business in its circulation area – over Conlin’s 17 years of ownership, and it’s lost money for several years, Conlin said in an interview Tuesday.
“We offered good cheap advertising for these businesses, but we just don’t have the businesses anymore,” Conlin said.
Tuesday, Conlin was finishing the paper’s last print newspaper, which will be in the mail to its 20,000 households on Aug 21. The online paper, as of that point, will begin charging for advertising, which it’s never done, Conlin said.
“With the advent of social media, and with rising costs of printing and the postage necessary to put the paper free into those mailboxes, it became our gift to the community,” Conlin said Tuesday in a letter to advertisers and friends. “We have subsidized publication costs at an exorbitant rate for the past seven years. We find that this is a burden we can no longer bear.”
She said she’s committed to three years of online publication to see if it works. The paper’s editor, Kathryn Kroll, will continue. Conlin said she’ll maintain the newspaper’s office at Oakland and Meadowbrook boulevards for the Vision East Lancaster city task force she serves on.
Conlin and her son Jim, who died in September, bought the paper as a shopper and converted it into a newspaper. Conlin continues to maintain a highly visible presence in the community, at neighborhood association and business meetings, gathering information for the paper. Wanda Conlin is also a long-serving Fort Worth Zoning commissioner.
The paper initially made money, but then began to shrink. It has about 20 regular retail advertisers now; it used to have three times as many, Conlin said.
Its last publication will be 12 pages, compared to the 24 Conlin said it had early on. Last year, she and her husband, Don Boren, who owns a Kwik Copy print shop, put in more than $40,000 of their own money to print and mail the paper, Conlin said.
Conlin, who recently turned 85, said she’ll still be making the rounds, but not likely as many as she used to for the newspaper. Conlin, who also owns a Kwik Copy print shop with her husband Don Boren, said she didn’t attempt to sell the newspaper.
“It’s been my name on it for 17 years,” she said “I didn’t want someone to take that name and do something else. I’d rather go online.”
The paper has shied away from requests from certain advertisers, like smoke shops, that Conlin said she didn’t want. Conlin also cancelled an advertising contract with a church she said was aggressively denigrating the gay community.