Raleigh Chronicle changing ownership
The Raleigh Chronicle, the upstart online newspaper that saw itself challenging the Raleigh News and Observer, says today's edition was the last.
Well, sort of.
According to today's story, the online paper has been bought out by the Raleigh Downtowner, which is owned by Chronicle founder Randall Gregg's brother. "The terms of the deal were not released, but Gregg said the sale amount was "nominal" and was basically just to cover some expenses, since the buyer is another newspaper that is also owned by a member of the Gregg family."
As much as anything, it sounds as if the Chronicle faced the chronic problem many online sites are finding -- the difficulty of getting local advertisers to come over to the digital medium: Despite the challenges of gathering news, Gregg said that the hardest part of running the Chronicle was the business side -- selling advertising online.
"I think many newspapers are having a hard time of transitioning local advertisers from print advertising to the web and I don't know of any newspaper that has come up with a 100% workable solution for that yet," said Gregg. "However, the readership is certainly strong online and teaming up with the Raleigh Downtowner which has had a big success in print advertising sales will definitely help provide a solution for that issue."
As a newspaper, it was an interesting experiment, uneven at times, but with about 100,00 visitors in a recent month, according to what Gregg said in today's editions. Why uneven? It's illustrated in a story, also today, about how some post offices in Raleigh are demanding a local ID in apparently creating their own rules for renting a post office box. But the paper never talks to anyone beyond a counter clerk to find out what's up.
One also might wonder how much of the Downtowner's influence went into the innuendo-laced piece about Raleigh's restriction on downtown news boxes.
Still, the Chronicle has been an interesting experiment in seeing whether an alternative online news publication can survive and perhaps thrive in an urban area. I'll wait to see whether the "under new ownership" sign changes any of that.