The Citizen is for sale
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After almost five years and 281 consecutive weekly issues, the time has come for me to pass the baton. So consider this your own personal Request for Proposal to own and operate The Carrboro Citizen.
What has led me to this point you ask? While there are a number of reasons, the one that stands out is that my energy and enthusiasm for this newspaper have waned under the constant assault of all the worries associated with running a small business. And I’ve been actively operating small businesses since 1977. I guess I’m just tired.
This is a highly non-traditional method of seeking new ownership, but unlike any other publication with which I’ve been involved The Citizen belongs mostly to the readers, and it’s the readers who should have first crack at continuing what we’ve begun.
I have no interest in seeing this newspaper acquired by someone who would change its focus from nuanced, community-focused journalism. Those folks can go start their own publication.
This newspaper has always been about the journalism, pure and simple. And you readers have emphatically told us again and again that you like what we’re doing. For example, in 2012 we have distributed an average of 7,315 papers per week, with an average pickup of 90 percent. In the free newspaper business, that’s a huge number.
Based on industry standards, and coupled with our web readers, this means that there are more than 15,000 of you consistently reading what we have to say. And why not? After all, it’s all about you and your community.
Make no mistake about it – The Citizen has been a financial burden. That’s definitely a part of the weariness I’m feeling. The contrast of our strong readership success with these financial issues, however, while highlighting the challenges facing our industry, presents a manageable conundrum.
Manageable, that is, by the right person or group who sees the value of what we’ve built here, and who has the energy and resources to take on this task.
Who will it be? Am I the only person who believes our community deserves quality locally owned and operated long-form journalism, and is willing to back up that belief with money and time? I sure hope not.
Here’s the punch line: If a qualified successor isn’t soon found, The Citizen will cease publication sometime in the fall. Not before, however, we bring you another awesome Carrboro Resource Guide (9/6) and Carrboro Music Festival special section (9/27).
So call me, send an email or stop by the office. Your newspaper needs you.
Robert Dickson, Publisher