Publisher promises bigger, better ENC newspapers

Several local papers are moving to a bigger size

Hot off the presses -- we're learning about a new look for some well-known Eastern Carolina newspapers. But in reality it's a return to the old. The publisher says, when you turn the page you can expect a bigger and better product.

Halifax Media Group posted a sign in local news stands. It reads: "You spoke. We listened."

Beginning Thursday, May 1, readers of the New Bern Sun Journal, The Daily News of Jacksonville, and the Kinston Free Press will see a big change.

"We're doing exactly what our customers wanted us to do," Kinston Free Press Managing Editor Bryan Hanks said. "When we went to the compact edition five years ago, it was a failure from the start."

A failure, Hanks says, because local readers didn't like the smaller-sized papers. As a result, the papers are going back to a bigger, more traditional format.

Sun Journal Publisher Vernon DeBolt says it's out with the new, in with the old.

"We heard from our readers that they liked the broad sheet edition. They missed having sections. They missed a lot of the things a traditional newspaper had," DeBolt said.

He added that readers can expect better quality newsprint and ink in the company's papers. But he says the changes won't come cheap.

"It's gonna be more expensive for us to put the paper out. Not only are we going back to the taller paper, we're actually going to a little bit wider," DeBolt said.

Hanks explained just how wide it will be.

"The paper really is bigger. It's 7.5 inches longer; it's a half inch wider," Hanks said. "And the cool thing is that we're able to pack more stuff in there than we didn't have before."

More stuff including a new page called "The Good News Page".

"It's gonna be micro local for each location -- for La Grange, for Pink Hill, for Snow Hill, for Jones County, for the school systems," Hanks said.

He emphasized that the goal is to spice up the local content, one page at a time.

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