The North County News, a venerable local weekly that was launched in 1966 as The Yorktowner and has undergone a raft of changes in staff and format since its early 1990s heyday, has published its last edition.
An op/ed published today at its website, ncnlocal.com, announced that a merger with its sister publication, Yorktown PennySaver, takes place next week under the banner of PennySaver Community, “a single source of news, classifieds and information.”
“Each area in the North County News coverage area will have its own edition of PennySaver Community,” it states, “where you can find stories about your town, your schools and your neighbors. We encourage you to submit stories and photos about the goings on in your life, from new additions to your family to the new business you are opening.”
Though it isn’t stated, the new entity would presumably be a print publication distributed for free. Yorktown Supervisor Susan Siegel said this week the town’s cost for legal advertising would quadruple as state law requires the official newspaper be a paid publication.
Longtime former editor Nancy Haggerty, a Somers resident who left the paper in 1996, said she was saddened but not surprised by the news. At its height, she said, North County News published 80-plus-page editions zoned to each of its four main towns. Recent editions run about a third the size and are not zoned.
Neither Publisher Bruce Apar nor parent company Chase Media’s Carla Chase, daughter of late NCN founder John Chase, could immediately be reached.
A stagnant economy and declining advertising revenues have plagued newspapers for several years. Locally, NCN has faced new competition from Aol’s Patch.com and Mount Kisco-based Examiner Media, the latter an upstart free weekly founded and run by several former NCN staffers.
“By the time I left North County News, I didn’t get the sense that it would continue to operate as a traditional community newspaper for all that much longer anyway,” Examiner Publisher Adam Stone said, who left the paper in 2007*. “And I didn’t have any plans to start a publishing company at the time. I do try to focus my attention on our own business and then let the chips fall where they may.”
File photos of North County News founder John Chase, North County News Publisher Bruce Apar and Examiner Media Publisher Adam Stone/The Journal News
* An earlier version stated Stone left North County News in 2006.