Merger on the horizon
Beginning Nov. 1, the News Enterprise will be merged into its sister publication, the Dodge County Independent. Declining readership and reduced advertising revenue are the main factors leading to the merger. For the past three years, readership has declined, despite numerous efforts to provide a quality newspaper by the current ownership. The circulation of the News Enterprise is one of the lowest of any newspaper in the state.With the pending merger, it will become the second time the News Enterprise has experienced a merger. Several years ago the Claremont News merged into the West Concord Enterprise and became the News Enterprise serving Claremont, Dodge Center and West Concord. Bussler Publishing took over ownership of the News Enterprise from bankruptcy court in November 2012. During that time period, Bussler Publishing instituted many changes, including a complete redesign of the pages and enhanced news and sports coverage. The newspaper has also been awarded numerous state honors for excellence in journalism. Readers of the current News Enterprise will receive the Dodge County Independent beginning Nov. 4. The remainder of the subscription period will be honored. In addition, long-time readers will be offered an incentive with the combined newspaper. Letters will be mailed to current readers in the coming weeks explaining the arrangement in greater detail.Karen Jorgensen will remain on staff as a writer covering Claremont, Dodge Center and West Concord and other county news. In addition, she will continue to work out of the West Concord office at 308 W. Main St. as she has for the past few years. Bussler Publishing plans to keep the West Concord office open as a satellite to the DCI.In July, Bussler Publishing took over ownership of the DCI from Randy Carlsen. The DCI had been in the Carlsen family for 50 years prior to the sale. The acquisition of the DCI provides a great opportunity to provide Dodge County residents with a more comprehensive newspaper that covers the entire county. We view this as a positive move as we will still be able to provide residents of Claremont, Dodge Center and West Concord the quality journalism we have provided for the past three years. We will offer the same coverage as we always have plus much more. We believe the new combined DCI will be the pride of Dodge County for years to come. See Hot Pursuit column on page 2 for more details about this exciting adventure. There will also be more in the coming weeks.