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HP News celebrating first anniversary in October

By Staff, 09/23/19 10:05 AM

HOPE/PRESCOTT – On Oct. 4, HopePrescott News will celebrate its first anniversary.

The paper came into being after the Hope Star and Nevada County Picayune were closed, leaving the area without a print product. HopePrescott.com was in business and covered news in Hempstead and Nevada counties.

The paper is the brainchild of Wendell Hoover, owner of HopePrescott.com, and Mark Keith.

Keith said the two reached a joint decision to start a paper as the community wanted an actual newspaper. Hoover and Keith had experience in news and both had advertising contacts, so it seemed logical to publish a paper.

However, one of the first problems encountered was finding someone to layout the pages, something easier said than done. Keith said they’d contacted a couple of printers and decided to go with the Nashville News-Leader as it offered the most reasonable price. The paper could have made its appearance sooner, but for the lack of a layout person. Once someone was found, the paper hit the presses and the streets.

At the beginning, the News had eight pages and printed 1,000 copies. Now, the paper averages 12 pages and has a run of 2,500 copies per week. Keith said the paper had an unusual opening as it was initially announced on Facebook. What’s unusual, he added, is using social media to grow an old media.

It worked and businesses asked to have copies brought to their establishments. In addition, people wanted to be able to subscribe. The two had planned to offer subscriptions eventually, but the demand caused this to be put on the front burner.

“We’re pleasantly surprised by the support and reception by the people,” Keith said. “Logic says papers are on the way out, but there’s still a good market in Hempstead and Nevada County.”

The two agreed the paper is more of a community service than anything and it’s paying for itself. Eventually, the idea is to increase the page and advertising count. The two also agreed the paper doesn’t do traditional classified advertising such as garage sales or homes for rent or sale. Instead, these are treated as regular ads and placed throughout the paper.

There are no plans to charge for rack sales so the paper will remain free. Hoover pointed out it runs four color pages per week.

The two also agreed the most important thing is to increase the paper’s circulation and keep advertising costs reasonable for businesses. The ad rates are $4 per column inch for black and white ads, and $5 per column inch for color ads.

The Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office will be hosting a coffee for the paper’s first anniversary from 9:30-11 a.m. at the EDO on Oct. 3, while a second coffee will be held at Farmer’s Bank in Hope on Oct. 10, also from 9:30-11 a.m. Hoover and Keith invite the public to come to these coffees and discuss any issues or offer any suggestions for improvement.