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Thursday, July 12, 2012

HCN duo want to become The Leader of community news

I noticed some departures from the Houston Community Newspaper chain. So I went to Charlotte Perry Aguilar, who is no stranger to this blog, and a longtime editor at HCN for answers (she has also been a field producer at ABC News for those keeping score).Turns out she is no longer with the newspaper company, which she says was sold, either.  

In fact, she wrote the following to fill us in on what is going on in her world (hint, her world is centering around another newspaper now):

The new ownership for The Leader, which serves The Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest and adjacent neighborhoods, took over on Sunday and publishes its first redesigned issue next Thursday, July 12. McElvy Media, LLC, purchased the newspaper from Burge Publishing, which had owned the 50,000-circulation weekly since 1957, three years after it was founded.

Jonathan McElvy, former editorial vice president of Houston Community Newspapers (as well as the parent company's chains in Colorado and East Texas), is the new owner. He was credited with raising the editorial and design standards of the 30-plus HCN papers during his six years there, and he built the company's online and social media presence.

"We had the great opportunity to buy a newspaper with an incredible brand," McElvy said. "People love The Leader, and you can't say that about every newspaper and its reader base these days. For us, it's really just a matter of building on that brand, not being afraid to try new ways of reaching the younger demographic in the Greater Heights area, while serving our traditional readers with solid reporting and local advertising."

Taking over as editor and general manager of The Leader is Charlotte Aguilar, who edited the four Examiner Newspapers (West University, Bellaire, River Oaks and Memorial) for six years, and who, for the past year, had served as digital editor for the Examiners and seven other HCN editions in Fort Bend County, the Cinco Ranch and Cypress areas.

"Community news is the one thriving segment of the print newspaper business," said Aguilar, "especially when you blend a successful print presence with hyperlocal online news and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The Greater Heights and communities to the north are the most vibrant, growing and eclectic areas in Houston, and it's a joy to serve our traditional readers and give newer residents more reasons to follow The Leader."

Already, in its first week, the new ownership has created a Facebook page and a Twitter account (@heightsleader). It plans to strengthen its web presence, over the next several weeks. COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here