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Media Watch

'Star,' 'Citizen' Increase Newsstand Prices


Those of you who still snag a paper with that morning coffee at the local convenience store might have noticed more change leaving your pocket.

That's because the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen raised their newsstand prices on Monday, March 31. The Star bumped the price of its non-Sunday editions to 75 cents, up from 50 cents. Meanwhile, the Citizen jumped from 35 to 50 cents.

In other Citizen info: For the second consecutive year, the Gannett-owned afternoon daily has offered unpaid leave to any employee who wants to take it. (This is in addition to accrued vacation time.) The paper implemented the same cost-cutting measure around this time last year.


News Media Corporation has launched yet another region-specific publication in Southern Arizona. Foothills News--which as the title suggests, covers the area around the Catalina Foothills School District--began its once-per-month publishing run in March.

"All of our publications are very community-oriented," said publisher Jenna Bartlett, who moved to the area after a stint as advertising executive with one of News Media's California-based publications. "Whether we come in and update a newspaper or start a new publication like we did in the foothills, there's a community there that's tight-knit. What we want to do is give them a publication that can give them what's going on with high school sports--the more intimate details of what's going on in their community.

"Tucson is a big area with lots of little communities. This publication will focus on what's going on in that school district, what's going on with the homes in that area, what's going on in community events, and it will be very targeted to that area."

It's a formula that has worked well for News Media Corporation. While many of the traditional print-media models are struggling, hyper-local publications--many of which tend to focus mostly on positive community occurrences--continue their suburban expansion. The company cranks out the Marana Weekly News, and monthlies Desert Times (southwest area) and the Dove Mountain-area Mountain News, in addition to Foothills News, which is gearing up issue No. 2 to hit the streets later this month.

"That's because we focus on what's going on with these specific communities," Bartlett said. "We don't try to focus on a national level, where people can go to the Tucson Citizen or Arizona Daily Star or even online to get their national news. We focus on what's just going on in that community. A lot of times, bigger publications do a pretty good job covering the whole of Tucson, but they can't necessarily spend as much time on smaller things that might be going on that interest people who live in the foothills and Marana. For instance, we get calls all the time from people who say their son or daughter was on the cover of sports, in Little League, things of that nature. It's a little bit more close-knit."

Communities have taken notice. The Marana Weekly News has made a significant splash since its inception less than a year ago, and the free foothills monthly has a circulation of 28,000.

"For $15 a year, you can purchase a pdf of it if you aren't in an area where we deliver, but it's delivered through the mail," Bartlett said. "If you live in the area, you'll get it. With the second edition of the Foothills News, there will be a couple of locations where (people) can pick it up, but all they have to do is call us, and we can get them a copy if they don't have it."


Some familiar faces have departed KVOA Channel 4. The NBC affiliate lost sales manager Evan Pappas after he took a station-manager position in San Luis Obispo, Calif., while general-assignment reporter Erica Heartquist bolted for Portland, Ore., and sports reporter Lacee Collins landed a gig with Fox Sports Arizona, where she will focus largely on the Diamondbacks.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Collins, who for 3 1/2 years was Tucson's only female sports anchor. "It will be mostly Diamondbacks, but with the Suns in the playoffs, I might do a little with that. When the Cardinals roll around, I'll be involved, so I'll be doing a little bit of everything."

"It's not like I'm being hired only for the Diamondbacks. It's a little bit of Suns, a little bit Cardinals, a little bit (Arizona State University), and with my background here working with the Sidewinders, the Diamondbacks are now two-thirds Sidewinders, so it's easy for me to get acquainted there. It's not like I'm walking into a spot where I have no idea."

Collins was raised in Tucson, and staying close to home was a priority.

"It was really important that if I was going to leave, I wasn't going to go far," Collins said. "It wasn't a case of me trying to leave Tucson to go anywhere. I had a chance to do a new beat. I love Tucson, but I want to have a chance to see what I can do in a bigger market. That's kind of where I'm at right now."

Collins begins her Diamondbacks utility role duties with Fox Sports on April 19.


Also in sports: KVOA Channel 4 was the only Tucson television news outlet that didn't send a reporter to Washington, D.C., to cover the Arizona men's basketball team in its 24th consecutive NCAA tournament.

Even though the UA basketball campaign played like a soap opera, and even though Arizona received a low seed after a seventh-place finish in Pac-10 play, the program garners the most sports interest in Tucson.

KVOA management did not respond to questions relating to the decision to keep its sports staff in town. While the other stations did live stories, KVOA utilized interviews retrieved from news partner KMSB Channel 11, which sent Brandon Nash to the nation's capital.

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