After 26 years of publication, the Highland Community News will publish its final edition next week, Friday April 22.
The announcement was made to staff at Highland Community News by Jerry Bean, president and owner of Century Group Media. Century Group owns five other community newspapers in the region with a total circulation of 55,000.
“I feel really bad for our followers and the Highland community,” Bean said, “but this was a tough decision that had to be made. We looked at several other forms of posting, but none made sense of the from a service and financial point of view.
Bean said rising costs and the poor economic climate caused by COVID-19 were factors in the decision to close the newspaper, which is the smallest of the group.
“The paper made a small profit in its early years, but lost a modest amount of money for several years after the 2008 recession,” Bean said. “This has been accelerated by the current economic conditions which make advertising sales difficult and especially by the current inflationary costs which are difficult to pass on to our customers.”
Cost cutting in recent years has reduced the staff from seven to three, all of whom have been offered jobs at other Century Group newspapers. Other functions such as production and accounting are carried out in the group’s central facilities.
Bean paid tribute to the staff led by editor Hector Hernandez Jr. and publicity rep Pam Davis.
“They did a wonderful job with limited resources,” he said. “They can be proud, as I am, of the newspapers they have produced for Highland readers.”
Staff will complete a final edit next week. Bean said the unused portion of all paid subscriptions will be refunded within the next three weeks. No refund request is necessary, he said. Legal advertising scheduled after April 22 will be published in other qualified Century Group newspapers.
The Highland Community News was founded by Laurie Payne (now Frymire) on October 29, 1995, as a bimonthly publication. Payne was instrumental in the incorporation of Highland in 1987 and was a former member of Highland City Council and mayor of the town.
After two months of publication, she contacted Bean to purchase the journal. The deal closed in early January, and Bean relaunched the paper as a weekly publication with increased distribution, an expanded office and staff with Payne as editor.
“We are grateful to Laurie for the name of our newspaper and for laying the foundation for a newspaper dedicated to local news and community service,” Bean said. “We regret that the Highland Community News is no longer published.”