Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Is CityBeat Toast?
"Sources" indicate, oh how it is fun to say "sources", that the Cincinnati Enquirer will be launching a new weekly publication. Specifics on its content have not yet been revealed, but all indications are that it will on some level be locking horns with CityBeat, the current leading weekly newspaper in Cincinnati. With prophetic accuracy Greg Flannery, News Editor of CityBeat, wrote this in his Porkopolis column just a couple of weeks ago:
And then there's the recent two-hour powwow organized by new Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan to hear what's on the minds of young urban professionals from such groups as Cincinnati Tomorrow, Give Back Cincinnati and YP Cincinnati. Attendees recommended ideas and changes to the paper, but one thing they might get in return is something they didn't ask for -- a free-distribution weekly paper published by The Enquirer and aimed at them.

Buchanan came to The Enquirer from The Idaho Statesman, a fellow Gannett paper, and during her tenure there she launched Thrive, a free weekly tabloid-sized paper that resembles an alternative weekly. If it materializes here, the local creative class can expect lots of articles on skateboarding, exclusive clubs, rock climbing and other entertainment options. But don't expect an alternative to The Enquirer's coverage of news and issues. After all, can Gannett be a real alternative to Gannett?
Greg may have known something, but I am sure the entire CityBeat staff will be none to happy with a revenue drain. The online version of Thrive is limited, but does seem to target much the same crowd as CityBeat. The website does bare more of Greg's predictions, this new weekly may be more arts/culture/entertainment based, leaving the "hard" news to the Enquirer.

I like competition. I would prefer both publications to thrive (bad pun). I just hope the Enquirer does not follow the Dallas Morning News and start a blog. If they do, I will not worry too much, but I would make a great consultant on how to do it. (Cough, Cough)

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