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Member Spotlight — The Frederick News-Post — March 21, 2013

Member Spotlight: Frederick News-Post

Location/Website: Frederick, Md.; http://www.fredericknewspost.com/

Twitter/Facebook: @frednewspost/ www.Facebook.com/fredericknewspost

Publication Schedule: Daily.

Focus & History: The earliest origins of the News-Post date back to Oct. 15, 1883, when a Frederick printing company first published The News. That evening newspaper gradually evolved into The Frederick News-Post, and it has been owned and controlled by the same family — the Delaplaines and the Randalls — since it was founded.

The News acquired the rival publication The Frederick Post in 1916. The News published in the evenings and The Post came out the morning until 2002, when the two papers merged to create the morning edition of The Frederick News-Post.

The Sunday edition was begun in October 2002 and for the first time, the News-Post was published 365 days year. Six years later the paper relocated from downtown Frederick into a state-of-the-art plant on Ballenger Center Drive just south of downtown, equipped with a new high-speed, six-tower TKS press capable of printing 70,000 copies an hour.

Unfortunately, the recession took a toll on the company. In November 2008, faced with rising production costs and plummeting ad revenue, the paper laid off seven percent of its workforce. The layoffs were the first in company history. And in 2009, The News-Post dropped its Monday edition, making the paper available six days a week.

However, the News-Post has been returning to financial health, and in February 2012 the Monday edition returned as subscriber demand increased enough to warrant the renewal. The Monday publication utilizes a tabloid format instead of the larger, folded broadsheet and focuses primarily on sports and business.

“It’s a fundamental re-think, because we didn’t want to publish a lighter, traditional broadsheet and underwhelm our readers,” publisher Geordie Wilson said. “The tabloid complements our traditional broadsheet, makes a statement and it gives us fixed ad position and placement schedule.”

The family’s stewardship of the News-Post is well documented. Three family members are in the MDDC Newspaper Hall of Fame: Robert Delaplaine (1954), George B. Delaplaine Jr. (1993) and George E. Randall (2008), inducted four years after his death. George Randall’s brother, Myron Randall, Jr., is the paper’s current president, and William B. Randall, Myron's son and a fifth-generation family member, has since joined the company.

In July 2011, Geordie Wilson was named publisher. Wilson had previously held the same role at the Concord (NH) Monitor and Monadnock Ledger-Transcript in Peterborough, N.H.

Help Wanted: Terry Headlee, the paper’s managing editor, tells ExPress News that due to a pair of unexpected resignations, the paper is looking for both a copy editor and features editor. Interested parties can contact Headlee at 301-662-1178 or email him at theadlee@newspost.com.

What’s New: “No rocket science here but some fun projects in our building,” Wilson said. “We’re revamping and expanding our weekend entertainment package, and we’re constantly re-thinking what a print newspaper can mean to our readers.”

The News-Post has added several part-time staff to accommodate a 24-hour, two-shift commercial printing operation. The paper will be announcing a substantial, new commercial contract in its upcoming Sunday edition. A new showcase magazine, a 64-page lifestyle pub called Real Frederick, delivers to subscribers five times a year, while a few thousand copies are mailed directly with a hybrid glossy cover.

“We have a really flexible press, and it allows us to do commercial work, a glossy cover pub, along with our Monday edition is a tabloid publication,” Wilson said. The paper also delivers The Washington Post in Frederick County and participates in a shared delivery schedule with the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown.

“They deliver for us in certain spots and we deliver for them in different areas,” Wilson said. “It would have been unthinkable to deliver a competitor’s paper at one time, but it’s more and more commonplace in our industry.”

The paper’s website is also rolling out a new beta test site, and while launch remains a few weeks away, the new site offers the paper an option to implement a paywall. Officially, the paper is undecided on the idea of a subscriber paywall.

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