Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

Papers to launch redesign
By Craig Richards, Publisher
Mar 22, 2014, 16:11

Community newspapers thrive on their commitment to local coverage. Starting April 1, the Hopewell News and the News-Patriot will return to their roots. While we have strived to meet the news, sports and entertainment coverage our communities deserve, we have determined a way to do it even better.

The questions we have encountered have been how do we get more local Hopewell and Prince George news in the Hopewell News. How do we get more Colonial Heights and Chester news in the News-Patriot. And finally, how do we address the inconsistent delivery and possible elimination of US Postal delivery on Saturday.

The immediate answer is to create two separate papers with expanded coverage that will publish a weekday and weekend edition. Plus we will add a web newscast twice a week.

Here’s how the changes will work.

THE HOPEWELL NEWS: A copy of the July 10, 1942, issue of the Hopewell News was brought into our office this week. Under the Hopewell News name was this banner, “Politically Independent, This Newspaper is Dedicated to the Progress of Hopewell and Prince George.” And so shall it be. The Hopewell News will be committed to the stories important to Hopewell and Prince George. Your new front page will be dedicated to Hopewell and Prince George focused events and stories. Inside pages will also reflect that same focus. While various stories in the region are of interest to us all, the lead stories will reflect the heartbeat of Hopewell and Prince George.

THE NEWS-PATRIOT: The communities of Colonial Heights and Chester deserve the same dedication and focus as well. Therefore, the front page and inside pages of the News-Patriot will contain stories for your specific interest and community. Our new look will also be launched on April 2. This is our opportunity to put and distinct and independent voice to the people of our communities in this area.

While the communities are indeed neighbors, it is also important to remember that events and activities for one community do not have the same importance in the other communities. The two newspapers will have unique individual coverage that each area deserves and can be proud of. We are fortunate enough to have the privilege to offer two great areas two great newspapers.

Both papers will continue to provide regional sports and entertainment coverage. With a renewed commitment to cover our young athletes, readers will find sports coverage for each of Chester, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Prince George in every issue. The same will apply for entertainment features, event calendars, faith-based features, puzzles, games, classifieds and more.

SATURDAY DELIVERY: The constant challenge the US Postal Service faces has created a great area of concern surrounding the Saturday delivery. We have faced several challenges of getting your paper delivered on time on that day. There has also been discussion in Washington of eliminating Saturday delivery for cost savings reasons. In order to be proactive, we will also start a new delivery package in April. To avoid further challenges or delays, we will be offering a new expanded weekend edition that will hit the streets on Thursday and at homes on Fridays. The new expanded edition will include a third “Life” section. This addition will offer more events, activities, faith-based news and information and more. That will take our weekend edition for three sections. We will also be expanding the weekday edition. This paper will offer two sections instead of one and will hit the streets on Monday and at homes on Tuesday. While we will not have a mid-week paper, we now will have two expanded papers in both size and more community specific local news coverage.

WAIT - THERE’S MORE: With the expanded local focus, we will also be offering a industry leading, first time ever, web-based news cast. You will be able to catch local news videos through our website, as reported by our local reporters. This allows us to report to you more often in an exciting video format.

We are committed to our local people. You are the reason we are here. This new community specific focus for each newspaper and the addition of our new web-based video reporting will allow us to promote and serve the best people, businesses and organizations in Virginia. So what do we need from you? That’s easy. We need your support, not just subscriptions and advertising. While we certainly need both of those, we also need you to be our neighbors. Talk to us. Share your stories. Share the changes with your friends, neighbors and family and ask them to support “our” community newspaper. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a community to grow newspapers that can better serve those same communities.

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