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Provo Herald is halting 5 weeklies

Published: Friday, Feb. 6 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

The owners of the Provo Daily Herald said Thursday that they plan to halt print publication of five of their Utah County weekly community newspapers in an effort to streamline costs.

Randy Wright, the executive editor of the Daily Herald, told the Deseret News that the consolidation of the print editions of the American Fork Citizen, Lehi Free Press, Lone Peak Press, Orem Times and Pleasant Grove Review into the Daily Herald is part of an ongoing strategy to strengthen the company's core daily product while reducing costs associated with production.

The change came in response to the ongoing economic issues currently facing newspapers across the nation, as the news business becomes more of an online medium, he said.

Other weekly newspapers owned by the Herald — in Springville, Spanish Fork, Payson and Sanpete County — will not be affected by the consolidation.

Wright emphasized that no employees would be laid off as a result of the consolidation effort, and the newspaper has no plans to consolidate any of the company's other remaining weeklies.

"We're still going to cover our north-county communities like we always have," he said. "We're going to come back with strong community Web sites with social marketplace-type tools and community interaction-type tools."

The Daily Herald reported that the enhanced online presence of the content that had been in the weeklies would include "a series of Web sites, each focused narrowly on a particular town" and presenting "news from all local schools, community groups, churches and local governments."

Wright acknowledged that some people could feel "a sense of loss of tradition" because they would no longer receive their weekly community newspaper. But he said the availability of local content would remain the same and the company would improve operational efficiencies.

"We think this move will simplify the communication between us and our advertisers," he said. "It will also provide advantages to our advertisers by increasing their market reach."

He said that the Daily Herald's higher circulation would give local advertisers access to more potential customers and lower operational costs by reducing publication redundancies.

Wright said that the overall circulation of the five weeklies was around 5,800, with approximately 30 percent of those subscribers also taking the Daily Herald.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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