Local media company continues year of successful expansion efforts
From Staff Reports
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Continuing a year of growth and achievement, Clarksburg Publishing Company has purchased Preston Publications, which currently publishes two weekly newspapers and a pennysaver shopper from its Kingwood office.
Clarksburg Publishing, which owns The Exponent Telegram as well as The Bridgeport News, Harrison Xtra and Doddridge-Salem Xtra, completed the transaction this past week and will continue publication of the successful products which serve Preston and neighboring counties.
The purchase of the Preston publications adds to a growing list of Clarksburg Publishing properties, which are anchored by the flagship, The Exponent Telegram and its website, www.theet.com.
“The purchase of Preston Publications and its two weeklies and shopper helps better position our company to leverage our strength in the North Central West Virginia (NCWV) marketplace,” Clarksburg Publishing owner and President Brian Jarvis said. “Preston County is at the tip of The Exponent Telegram daily circulation, so it lends itself well to using our economies of scale effectively.
“We also anticipate that Preston County will continue seeing growth as NCWV as a whole grows. This will provide better advertising opportunities for our media partners to further their exposure in all of NCWV.”
The purchase is the latest in a string of new initiatives designed to serve readers and advertisers throughout North Central West Virginia.
Those efforts have met with great success, Publisher Andy Kniceley said.
“Our paid circulation is growing,” Kniceley noted, citing the Sept. 30 numbers released by the Alliance for Audited Media, which audits paid circulation at newspapers around the country.
“Generally newspapers are seeing 4 to 5 percent circulation declines and several in West Virginia have seen double digit declines,” Kniceley said. “The Exponent Telegram is the only paper to show circulation growth and done so in the last two publishing cycles.
“Paid circulation is up 1.1 percent, which along with our increased total readership is directly related to investments the company made in the newsroom and in circulation customer service,” Kniceley said.
“While other newspapers have cut back, we’ve invested,” Kniceley said.
The end result has been increased focus on local news, features and sports.
“We’ve been blessed to be able to produce award-winning journalism, but more important than any awards, we’ve been able to generate stories that have made a difference in our communities,” Executive Editor John G. Miller said. “To be able to produce stories about people making a positive difference, but also having the staff and ability to dig deep and ferret out corruption — that’s what good community newspapers are supposed to provide to their readers.
“We strive to do that on a daily basis,” Miller said.
Besides the increase in paid circulation, The Exponent Telegram has experienced tremendous growth with its online edition and digital media presence, Kniceley said.
“In October, our website, www.theet.com, reached a new record with 220,000 unique visitors in a month,” Kniceley said. “Our mobile audience has grown to over 60,000 uniques a month and our Facebook reach has grown to a new high last week of 80,000 unique users over a seven-day period.
“We’re growing our audience in every platform: print, digital and social media,” Kniceley said. “And our engagement with readers, where they read and respond in some manner has grown by 20 percent.”
Besides the success of The Exponent Telegram, Clarksburg Publishing also has launched several other products in 2014:
— NCWV Life Magazine, which debuted with its September/October issue. This six times a year publication has drawn rave reviews from readers and advertisers.
— NCWV Real Estate Magazine, which debuted in June, provides much needed marketing services to those looking to buy or sell homes, commercial properties or land.
— MYNCWV.COM, which debuted in June, is a web portal designed to offer a one-stop shop for commerce along the Interstate 79 Corridor, Jarvis said. It is the region’s first e-commerce driven website.
The company’s successful weekly, The Bridgeport News continues strong growth, while the Harrison Xtra and Doddridge-Salem Xtra remain popular for advertisers to deliver their messages.
Jarvis said Clarksburg Publishing Company will apply similar strategies to build on Preston Publications’ “long, successful history in Preston and surrounding counties.”
The Preston products will continue to operate at a location in Kingwood, where editorial and sales staff will be based. The products will be redesigned to add color to benefit readers and advertisers, Jarvis said.