The Daily Times is on the move in more ways than one. When Hope Comer took over as publisher, she set her standards high and the Times began moving forward with more local content than ever. Now the Portsmouth area’s daily source for news is moving physically, from 637 Sixth St. in Portsmouth to the new centralized location at 1603 11th St. in Portsmouth.
“Civitas Media liquidated all real estate within their newspaper group,” Comer said. “The Daily Times building officially sold in May of 2016 to Twenty Lakes Holding, LLC.”
Comer said the search for new facilities didn’t happen overnight.
“I have been searching for the last 15-16 months for a location that will not only serve my staff that I currently have but also the community,” Comer said. “An important feature was to allow the community access to us.”
Comer said the Daily Times and the Community Common are Scioto County’s local community newspapers, which is why the company needs to give the community access to the management, writers, sales department and circulation — “whether they’re walking in our front door, picking up a copy of the newspaper, reading us online, finding us on Facebook or following us on Twitter,” Comer said.
The Daily Times continues to grow in readership, Comer said.
“Today, I am reaching more with the Daily Times and the Community Common as a media avenue than we did in the 1980s,” Comer said. “In the 1980s, we had about three times the staff we have now, and our reach was around 35,000. Today, I have 19 employees, which are all going to the new location with me, and we are reaching almost 200,000 people with breaking news.”
In addition to the Times and Common’s extended reach, local news coverage has grown. The Times has breaking news that hits online first and their Facebook page as well, and now includes in-depth reader-interest stories.
“There are several media outlets out there that are available to our community members,” Comer said. “They have their favorite place to go for the national news, state news and things like that. And we still carry a State and Nation page, but here locally we are the source for them. Our local news team, the reporters on my staff and editors and sports editor and reporters, are responsible for getting that news out to them – what’s going on in the community – what our readers are interested in, things they need to know about what’s coming up.”
Some of the things the new location offers benefits that are an improvement over the old Sixth Street location. Among those improvements are the more individualized offices and the large conference room that allows privacy for interviews by the editorial staff and sales staff to meet with community members.
The new location will also reflect the newspaper’s historic past that dates back to 1852.
Ed Litteral, Regional Director of Circulation, said the Times does not want to leave out the green aspect of the move.
“It’s a better use of our resources,” Litteral said. ‘We’ve got a large empty space over here (Sixth Street) that we have heated and cooled. We’re going to be more efficient in our new location with a lower footprint. We’ll have better use of energy sources and all utilities.”
Comer said, while the move will take place May 1, people will still see activity at the Sixth Street location as the owners come in to remove the presses.
“I have a surprise for the public,” Comer said. “Watch our paper for the announcement of our open house coming soon after our May 1 move. You’ll need to stop by to see all of the history that we have integrated into the new location.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.