Carrboro residents to revive town's newspaper
The beloved Carrboro Citizen newspaper could be back in the hands of residents by August.
Publication of The Carrboro Citizen, which had covered Carrboro since 2007, ceased on Oct. 4 after the publisher failed to find a buyer to take over operations.
Within a month, a group of Carrboro residents formed the Friends of the Citizen to revive the newspaper.
Randee Haven-O’Donnell, a member of the group who also holds a seat on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, said the group hated the idea of losing a primary source of news.
“We started to meet and started to talk about what caused the paper to fail and what we need to do to get it relaunched,” she said.
The group has worked to rebuild the publication with a new business model. Members plan on including both print and online components, Haven-O’Donnell said.
Connie Cohn, a member of the group, said she hopes there will be a “soft launch” online in the near future, followed by a “hard launch” for the print product.
“We want to have a paper in peoples’ hands by August,” she said.
Cohn said the new Carrboro Citizen will be a nonprofit organization staffed by both student journalists and paid staff.
But Cohn said the group hopes to have the new paper closely resemble the old one.
“How it might be different is really hard to say, because we would very much like to have the old Carrboro Citizen back,” she said.
“We miss it, and we want it back in our hands and in boxes and in stores and around the community.”
Allen Spalt, member of the Friends of the Citizen, said he thinks The Carrboro Citizen captured the identity of the town, and he would like to see it come back soon as well.
“We understand that the longer it stays dark, the momentum is lost, and we don’t want that to be any greater than necessary,” he said.
And Carrboro’s unique identity was truly represented by the Citizen, Spalt said.
“We were really happy for the four or five years that we had a real local paper,” he said.
He said while other papers do an excellent job of covering news in the area, Carrboro needs and wants a paper that can be its own.
“Local papers actually do pretty well,” Spalt said.
With money from advertising and private contributions, he said he could see the newspaper succeeding again in Carrboro.
And reviving The Carrboro Citizen would bring a voice back to the Carrboro community, Haven-O’Donnell said.
“The Carrboro Citizen was our thought leader,” she said. “We lost our voice, and we lost our thought leader.”
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