Tribune, Picayune merge into bigger, better newspaper

MARBLE FALLS — The River Cities Sunday Tribune’s last edition will be distributed the weekend of Nov. 10-11, announced Publisher Amber Weems.

“The best features of The Tribune will remain, however,” Weems said. “The Tribune is being merged into The Picayune, which will continue to publish on Wednesdays and be distributed for free.”

The new “super” Picayune will begin publication on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.

The merger of these two award-winning newspapers will better serve the information and advertising needs of the Highland Lakes as the local economy continues to recover from a national recession, Weems said.

“After 17 years of covering the news in Burnet and Llano counties, The River Cities Sunday Tribune is no longer a viable economic venture,”  Weems said. “By merging the two papers, we can provide a better service to both our advertisers and our readers. The readers get the best deal — they get the best of both papers on a weekly basis and they get it for free.”

The merger was timed to coincide with Editor Thomas Edwards’ departure, Weems said. Edwards is leaving The Tribune and The Picayune for a new media opportunity in San Antonio.

“We are sorry to see Thomas go and know his expertise in reporting the news will serve him well in his new job,” Weems said.

As the flagship newspaper of Victory Publishing Co. Ltd., The Picayune will continue to print and distribute more than 25,000 papers each Wednesday — the largest press run of any newspaper in the Highland Lakes.

Paid subscribers to The Tribune have until Friday, Nov. 30, to request a refund on their remaining subscription. Tribune subscribers can call (830) 693-7152, email subscriptions@thepicayune.com or drop by the office at 1007 Ave. K in Marble Falls for their refund.  Subscribers also will have the option to choose to donate their refund to The Helping Center, a local food pantry, or Picayune Pennies, a regional benevolence fund.

Now going into its 22nd year, the weekly Picayune will continue its founding mission to foster a sense of community and keep readers informed of the news and events important to the Highland Lakes, Weems said.

Victory also will continue to publish its magazine, 101 Fun Things to do in the Highland Lakes, each spring/summer and winter/fall, as well as The Picayune Area-Wide Phone Book. The Picayune’s online component, DailyTrib.com, will continue to be the go-to website for breaking news in the area.

“The Picayune is a part of what makes the Highland Lakes unique,” Weems said. “We will turn all of our attention to community reporting. We coined the term ‘Picayunish,’ a word that means writing stories about who we are as a community and what we’ve done to make our community unique. In the end, it’s who we are that makes this the best place to live.”

That commitment to community coverage has been acknowledged by several statewide journalism associations over the years with numerous awards for excellence in writing and reporting.

Dan and Lee Alvey began The Picayune in 1991. Before owning his own publication, Dan Alvey worked at The Highlander from 1974 to 1987, starting in ad sales and finishing as publisher. His wife, Lee, also honed her publishing skills at The Highlander, serving as treasurer of Highland Publishing.

The two began their own newspaper empire in 1991 with publication of The Picayune. From a small office on Main Street, the paper outgrew several locations before moving into its current facilities on Avenue K, where its presses and TV production studio also are housed.

After establishing The Picayune, the Alveys sought to meet the community’s need for a paper more focused on hard-news coverage. The River Cities Tribune began weekly publication in 1995. In 2005, The Tribune became the area’s first daily paper.

Nationally, newspapers have been in trouble for many years, with steadily declining ad revenues closing such stalwarts as the Rocky Mountain News and the Cincinnati Post. Last year, 152 newspapers shut down in the U.S. The year before that, 151 closed their doors.The Picayune has proven an exception.

The 21-year-old publication remains a force in the community, Weems said, and Victory Publishing will continue to expand and experiment in areas of the industry now on the upswing: online video and digital publications.

The Picayune TV began in 2010. It currently provides three local daily news, sports, weather and community video stories online at DailyTrib.com and Youtube.com. The Picayune also sends out a daily email newsblast to online subscribers recapping the day’s top stories.

The Picayune TV is growing in popularity, Weems said, and is free, along with the email newsblasts.

“We’re excited about our expansion into video and online,” she continued. “With this merger, we’ll be able to focus more time and attention to that area.”

And that area is the future for anyone in the news business, Weems said.

“Watch closely,” she said. “The future of journalism is developing right here in the Highland Lakes. If you’re reading this, you are a part of that future.”

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