Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Free daily takes on paid daily in Mississippi

Starkville, Mississippi, a city of 24,000 that is home to Mississippi State University, has become one of the few places in the United States with two separately owned daily newspapers, one of them being a free daily.

The paid daily in town is the Starkville Daily News, established in 1903. But The Commercial Dispatch in nearby Columbus has also served Starkville for many years.

On July 8, the Commercial Dispatch launched the free Starkville Dispatch, which is now available in the afternoon Monday through Friday and on Sunday morning.

“In a time when most news about newspapers is doom and gloom, we hope this expansion will show that our industry is still alive and viable in the Golden Triangle,” said Dispatch Editor and Publisher Birney Imes in an announcement July 8. “Starkville is a dynamic community, and the distance separating it and Columbus seems to be shrinking all the time. Residents of both communities visit the other for work, entertainment, dining and education.”

(We were tipped off about this story by Piet Bakker's Newspaper Innovation blog. All tips to are appreciated.)