Chapel Hill News Leaving Franklin Street?

Fiona Morgan, over at the Indy, reports that the N&O's parent company McClatchy has the Chapel Hill News building up for sale.
"I think if we got the right price, we'd be interested in talking with somebody," John Drescher, The N&O's executive editor, said in an interview.
Is this inevitable? Can the Carrboro Citizen pick up the slack? Is it time for more startup papers to run tight ships with old school newspaper values? I for one am pretty sad it has come to this but am not surprised one bit. For more details see another recent article by Morgan called What's Up? More bad news at The N&O.



Brian, You should def contact N&O and get them to sign on for space in

Most of you wouldn't see this, but since the Durham News section of the N&O gets delivered to our house (because of the address assigned by the US Postal Service), we saw this last Saturday:

"The Durham-based staff of The News & Observer and The Durham News is moving.

On Monday, we will be housed with our Orange County colleagues on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill."

Not sure this jibes with a near-term departure of the CH News from the building that it owns on West Franklin. The Durham bureau has been housed in rental space for many years, and moving it to CH is certainly one way to save money.

 To clarify: the N&O parent company owns the building.

I'm also pretty sad about cuts at the N&O but not worried about a hole in Chapel Hill coverage.

The Daily Tar Heel scooped all other papers on the news that town officials are considering downsizing of Halloween, put the story about the Carrboro East Main Street development on the front page Wednesday and is a regular presence at town and county meetings and functions. (In fact, we've long had later press deadlines than the Chapel Hill News, allowing us to stay at meetings and events long enough to get the full story.)

We're expanding as other papers are cutting back. We continue to emphasize "old school newspaper values" while also working to translate those core skills into new media.

You can reach City Editor Max Rose at 962-4209 or and me, the editor-in-chief, at 962-4086 or

I think a lot of us saw this coming years ago when the press moved out. The upstairs newsroom has probably 25 or 30 desks available and now it's a ghost town. Having worked there for years and seen the place buzzing when The News was at its best, I feel a great sadness over the news that it might leave the corner.

I am reminded every day, it seems, of the value of a locally owned and operated newspaper. We are witnessing the decline of media conglomerates and the end, I hope, of the days when chains would buy up local papers and drive them into the dirt.

No one in Sacramento gives a rat's ass about Chapel Hill or Carrboro. It's all about margins and the bottom line. That's what you're seeing.

Robert Dickson and I decided that this area ought to have a locally owned community newspaper and so we built one. We're trying our damnedest to make it work. But it is really up to our readers and our advertisers to decide whether it lasts. If the local economy is willing to support us, we'll succeed. The more we succeed, the more our paper will grow. The two of us own this thing lock, stock and barrel and we're committed to plowing resources into making this paper a great paper and to increase our capacity to serve our community.

We're now available in more than 130 locations — 43 of them in Chapel Hill. Our name is The Carrboro Citizen, but as anyone who reads the paper knows, we cover a lot more than Carrboro.

Kirk Ross, Editor

McClatchy should call that Joe Riddle fellar down in Fayettevile, he could probably turn that property into, well.... nothing !

On hearing that the newspaper building might be for sale, I was overcome with nostalgia. How many nights did I spend in that building, sleeping on newsprint rolls, waiting for the old Chapel Hill Weekly to come off the the press? No doubt the ghosts of Orville B. Campbell and Jim Shumaker still haunt those precincts and will protect them from some mundane use.

 -- Kerry Sipe


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