At a time when many other newspapers are failing, a small Valley publisher is gearing up to resume publication of three community newspapers.
Independent Newspapers, which already publishes local newspapers in 11 communities around the Valley, will start publishing three more—at Arrowhead Ranch, Chandler and Gilbert. Chandler and Gilbert are slated to begin Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Actually, Independent will be returning to those three communities. It had earlier pulled out of some communities when it was caught in the middle of a competitive battle between two of the country’s biggest corporate publishers: Virginia-based Gannett (which publishes USA Today, The Arizona Republic and nearly 1,000 other publications around the world), and Freedom Newspapers, which publishes the News-Sun in the West Valley and the East Valley Tribune.
“We simply couldn’t survive in those communities with those two corporate giants slugging it out,” Independent Publisher Bret McKeand admitted.
But with Freedom’s announcement of its closing many of its publications—including the East Valley Tribunes in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Queen Creek—McKeand believes there will be room for small locally-focused publications in communities like Chandler, Gilbert and Arrowhead Ranch.
“We have no intention of competing with Gannett’s dailies,” McKeand said. “We will strictly be niche players, providing readers and advertisers with the modest alternative of a local community newspaper. We believe there is room for both, and we are delighted that we are able to respond to these communities, which have been urging us to return.”
One big difference, McKeand said, is that his newspapers will not be published daily. The newly re-launched Independents in Chandler and Gilbert will be published weekly, like its sister papers in Apache Junction-Gold Canyon, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Mesa, Queen Creek-San Tan Valley, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise; the paper in Arrowhead Ranch will be published monthly.
Another big difference is much of the content in the Independent is contributed by readers and volunteer contributors.
“By necessity, our staffs are small and we couldn’t do what we do without the help of our readers,” McKeand said. “Their contributions convince us there is still a huge interest in newspapers, and especially in community newspapers. It also allows our staff journalists and freelancers to focus most of their attention on coverage of important local public issues.”
People interested in supporting or being involved in Independent’s expansion are asked to contact Bret McKeand at firstname.lastname@example.org.