With Circ Hammered, ‘Morning News’ Tries Local Strategy and Reader Content

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

On the same day the Audit Bureau of Circulations latest Fas-Fax report was released with a note explaining that there were no figures from The Dallas Morning News because it was under ABC board censure, the Morning News Monday announced it would be launching a series of standalone neighborhood weeklies and expanding the zoning of local news in its core newspaper.

Next Saturday, May 7, the Morning News is launching Neighbors, a weekly publication, in four Denton County communities: Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village; Carrollton; Coppell/Valley Ranch; and Irving.

Following the example of other publications, such as the Bakersfield Californian’s Northwest Voices, Neighbors will feature articles submitted by residents. The Morning News said the new vehicles will allow smaller advertisers to target a local audience at lower rates than available in the daily.

“Neighbors will help people in and around Denton County to stay in touch with what’s going on in their neighborhood while offering them the opportunity to share stories and information with others around them,” said Bill Patterson, publisher and CEO of the Denton publishing company of The Dallas Morning News.

On May 12, the Morning News will expand the zoning of its Metro section to include additional news about Denton County communities. The section will include a “community focus pages” every Thursday through Sunday, plus community obituaries, and community columnists.

The Morning News has said its daily circulation in the six months ended March 31 was down 9% on weekdays and 12% on Sundays compared to the figures it reported a year ago, results it said were inflated by improper methods.

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