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News of Orange County and Mebane Enterprise to merge at end of January

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Photo Courtesy of Dale Edwards.

Two local newspapers, the Mebane Enterprise and The News of Orange County, are planning to merge according to a decision made by the parent company of both publications – Womack Publishing.

The Mebane Enterprise office will permanently close, and the combined paper will cover news from Mebane, Hillsborough and Efland from The News of Orange County office in Hillsborough. The merger will finalize at the end of January.

Dylan Phillips, the current editor of the Brunswick Beacon and previous staff writer for the Mebane Enterprise, said the merge of the two papers was not surprising. He said Mebane is experiencing a real estate boom, and that residents new to the area have not connected with the newspaper.

He said newspapers have closed more frequently across the country and that the merger is a "disappointing decision."

“As I worked there longer, I saw some signs that maybe the Mebane Enterprise wasn’t the publishing company's top priority," he said.

Dale Edwards has worked as the managing editor of both the Mebane Enterprise and The News of Orange County for almost four years. Edwards said his time was split between both offices.

“On Mondays I would lay out and upload the Mebane Enterprise, and on Tuesdays I would lay out and upload The News of Orange," he said. "Now that I can do that all on one day, it gives me an extra day for recording, and it will also eliminate some of the items that are duplicated between the two newspapers."

Mebane and Hillsborough have overlapped for decades, Edwards said, and the decision to merge the news makes sense because the areas are so closely related that it is almost more difficult to keep them separated. There will be a dedicated section in the combined newspaper specifically for Mebane news, he said.

He said the merger will bring more potential for advertising and a larger audience. Edwards said he hopes the Mebane community will not feel left out and that the combined paper can become a bigger part of their community. 

“I hope we continue to be a source of pride and enjoyment and information for now both communities in one,” said Edwards.

Sean Ewing, a Mebane city council member, said he is not concerned about stories from Mebane being underreported. The important thing is that the combined paper continues to cover Mebane news, he said.

“Right now, Mebane is a wonderful slice of heaven, and I hope we can continue to get the coverage as we grow,” Ewing said.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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