The Carrboro Citizen plans to increase its circulation by 20 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2009 and will expand editorial coverage in Chapel Hill, the company announced Thursday.
Publisher Robert Dickson said adding rack and news-box locations in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Pittsboro already has accommodated a 10 percent increase in circulation for the free newspaper, from 5,000 to 5,500. The newspaper plans to add additional distribution points to bring that number to 6,000.
â€œWe are slowly but surely growing our reach,â€ Dickson said. â€œThe important thing is that reader demand for the newspaper is driving the circulation jump.â€
The Citizen currently distributes 2,225 papers in Carrboro, 2,400 in Chapel Hill, 525 in Hillsborough and 350 in Chatham County at more than 130 locations.
Dickson said reader interest is also driving an increase in coverage. This month, The Citizen began weekly coverage of Chapel Hill town government. Editor Kirk Ross, who covered the town and UNC for the Chapel Hill News for several years, will be the chief reporter on the Chapel Hill beat.
â€œA lot of people have urged us to include more coverage of Chapel Hill,â€ Ross said. â€œThis is going to be an important year for the town, with Carolina North negotiations, concerns about the budget and the local economy, major construction in the works downtown and a municipal election.â€
The Citizen also has recently expanded its coverage of business and the local economy, signing on veteran writer Margot Carmichael Lester to write for both the paper and a new blog called Orange County Housing & Commerce. The blogâ€™s address is carrborocitizen.com/housing.
In addition to the business blog, The Citizen is also adding several new contributors to its MILL blog. MILLâ€™s address is carrborocitizen.com/mill