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'MARANA WEEKLY NEWS' AIN'T WEEKLY ANY MORE

After about five years in print, the Marana Weekly News is changing its approach to place more of an emphasis on online content. A print edition will be available on a monthly basis.

"We're surrounded by a 24-hour news cycle. Our weekly publication right now might not get to a story until it's 10 days old. It's the same with sporting events," said editor Tonja Greenfield. "With competing media outlets and 24/7 news outlets, we need to be more current. And there are a lot of people who just don't read printed publications anymore. They'd rather get their news online. They log on, take a quick break from work, check the headlines, check the news, have their fill, and do that a couple of times a day. By doing the online and monthly print publication, we're hoping to bridge the demographics in Marana to better hit everybody. Everybody will get their news however they want it, whether digitally or printed."

Marana Weekly News parent company News Media Corporation owns and operates a number of other smaller community and specialty newspapers throughout the country. However, most of those papers still have a stranglehold on the areas they represent, because they're the only news sources in their small towns. In contrast, news coverage available to Marana residents is a great deal more varied.

"The Marana Weekly News is the first paper our company started. All of our others have been established, and we bought them," Greenfield said. "We're so much different than anywhere else we have newspapers in the country because of the 24/7 news cycle. The TV stations, the daily newspaper and even tucsoncitizen.com all cover stuff going on in Marana, whereas most of our other media outlets might have a newspaper nearby or TV station nearby, but they don't necessarily cover stuff in the town unless something major happens."

Then there is direct-competitor the Explorer, which has reported news in the Marana and Oro Valley area as part of its weekly publication for years.

Since the announcement of the transition, Web traffic has increased noticeably, Greenfield said—even though "weekly" is still part of the website address, at least for the time being.

The plan for the monthly print edition is to dramatically increase the circulation and the size of each edition.

"Right now, it's three sections. That will probably be five or six," Greenfield said.

The change does not affect any of the organization's other publications in the region, such as the Foothills News, which hits newsstands and doorsteps monthly. The company also publishes a series of specialty papers, most notably Equine Enthusiast, which focuses on horse-related features in a four-state radius, and Pet Enthusiast. Those publications can be read at maranaweeklynews.com.

During its time as a weekly, the Marana Weekly News had a circulation of 3,400.

Tucson West Publishing, the local arm of News Media Corp., is also eliminating its publisher's position—filled for more than two years by Damion Alexander, who is leaving the company—and replacing it with a general manager/ad director.

Based in Rochelle, Ill., News Media Corp. operates more than 75 community and specialty publications in nine states, with all but two of the states west of the Mississippi River.


KNAPP CONCLUDES KGUN RUN

Jake Knapp's last day at the KGUN Channel 9 sports desk is scheduled for Sunday, May 27. Knapp has landed a position in Phoenix with KPNX TV. He starts there June 11.

The Phoenix opportunity presented itself shortly after Knapp and KGUN could not reach an agreement on a deal to replace Dave Silver, who left the station after a 28-year run to join the University of Arizona in a fundraising capacity. KGUN hired Jason Barr to fill Silver's position, and now faces the task of searching for another sportscaster. Because the summer is the downtime for sports in Tucson, KGUN has a relatively comfortable window of time before UA football kicks off with preseason practice in August.

Knapp was with KGUN for more than six years.


SIMPSON ACCEPTS CBS ENGINEERING POST

Cumulus Tucson's chief engineer, Mark Simpson, has accepted a position with CBS Radio as its marketing engineering manager in Washington, D.C.

As chief engineer at Cumulus (and before that Citadel) for 10 years, Simpson was the guy who kept the radio stations' equipment operational. Simpson hails from Philadelphia and said he looks forward to being closer to home.

KXCI CD-RELEASE PARTY SLATED FOR THIS WEEKEND AT PLUSH

KXCI FM 91.3 is hosting its Locals Only Volume Six CD-release party at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 26, at Plush. The confirmed bill for the community-radio event includes Ashbury, Key Ingredients of African Soul, The Modeens and The Tryst, with more performers likely to sign up.

Dr. Dan Twelker, who hosted Locals Only from 2008 to 2011, put together the 16-track compilation CD. Matt Milner now hosts the Monday-night show. The CD will be available for $10 at the Plush event; admission is $5.

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