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Canyon Courier, High Timber Times announce merger

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The Canyon Courier and High Timber Times have merged into one newspaper, effective Oct. 19, 2016. The combined newspaper will stay under the name Canyon Courier. The two newspapers are part of Evergreen Newspapers Inc., which has been publishing four weeklies and two direct mail shoppers. The company is owned by Landmark Community Newspapers LLC (LCNI), a subsidiary of Landmark Communications. Besides the new Canyon Courier, the other weeklies are the Clear Creek Courant and the Columbine Courier.

The merger was announced in a letter to subscribers on the High Timber Times website by Publisher Tim Zeman, Editor Doug Bell and Circulation Manager Tom Fildey. In that letter, they noted that "Readers in both Conifer and Evergreen have asked for more local news and a larger and more comprehensive newspaper."

The combined newspaper will "include all the coverage of Conifer, Pine, Bailey and Morrison that High Timber Times readers have come to rely on … and it will continue to provide the Courier's Evergreen-area content as well, a bonus for readers in the 285 Corridor." They added that, "Our goal as a newspaper remains the same: Unite our communities with a reliable local source of information, advertising and online content."

Gazette adds veteran Trotter to roster

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The Gazette in Colorado Springs has brought in veteran journalist Jim Trotter to oversee its day-to-day news operation as the newspaper's new managing editor-news. He'll be in charge of daily news gathering, reporting and editing, as well as the Sunday edition, "emphasizing the development of big-picture, enterprise stories," reported Gazette staffer Rich Laden.

Trotter has worked for Rocky Mountain PBS since 2012, where he was managing editor for the company's I-News operation and led the investigative/public service newsroom. Prior to that, he worked in Phoenix as West Regional Enterprise Editor for The Associated Press, responsible for enterprise and investigative reporting in 13 Western states.

He has had a long career in print journalism, including nine years as senior investigative and enterprise journalism editor and assistant managing editor for news at the former Rocky Mountain News. But Trotter "also recognizes the news media's increasing emphasis on digital and video platforms as tools to present news," wrote Laden.

Said Trotter: "Whether in print or digital, newspapers remain the single-most important source of information in most communities … But it isn't only the split-second quickness of digital. It also offers some particular advantages for storytelling … Video has become an incredible element in public discourse, recharging issues of social justice, in particular."

From Gatlinburg, Tenn., and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Trotter, 69, also has been an award-winning metro columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and the Sacramento Bee. He has been married to his wife, Sharon, since 1994.

Clarity Media acquires Woodland Park, Monument pubs

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Clarity Media, owner of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, recently acquired two newspapers with a long history of service to their communities. Gazette Community Newspapers, a Clarity subsidiary, purchased the Woodland Park-area weekly The Pikes Peak Courier and the Monument-area weekly The Tri-Lakes Tribune (both more than 50 years old), forming a new subsidiary called Pikes Peak Newspapers Inc., which will manage the two pubs along with The Cheyenne Edition and The Woodmen Edition, weekly newspapers serving different Colorado Springs neighborhoods on Wednesdays.

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The two pubs were bought from a four-person ownership group that included journalism veterans Bill and Cary Vogrin, Rich Tosches and Susie Burghart. Bill Vogrin, president and editor of the publication now known simply as The Tribune, is also a former Gazette columnist. The Tribune serves Monument, Black Forest, Gleneagle, Woodmoor, Palmer Lake and northern El Paso County. The Pikes Peak Courier covers Woodland Park, Cripple Creek, Victor and Teller County.

Said Gazette President and Publisher Dan Steever: “Localized news, down to the neighborhood and school district level, is in demand now more than ever. While national and international news sources are plentiful, high-quality and reliable news from individual neighborhoods is scarce and we are happy to be making another investment to help residents.”

NNA Nov. 3 webinar targets new overtime rules

The National Newspaper Association (NNA) will host a webinar on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 9-10 a.m. Mountain Time on changes to the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The event, "Are you ready? New rules are about to hammer your payroll," is free to NNA member newspapers ($65 for non-members).

Said a release: "The new rule governing overtime pay for employees will create disruption at small newspapers and will likely lead to more job cutbacks." The new rule is set to go into effect Dec. 1.

Tonda Rush will explain the new rule and how it changes current federal labor laws. "She will describe which types of newspapers and employees are exempt, the policy implications of the change, and the limited options employers have to minimize its financial and operational impact."

Go to https://www.regonline.com/NNAOTRules to register.

Election climate changes Pew’s research

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Fans of the work Pew Research Center does may have noticed the popular polling firm has changed its attitude during the current, and unusual, political cycle. On Oct. 10, the Center published an article by Pew President Michael Dimock, who admitted it had “shifted its approach for the 2016 election cycle, focusing on fewer, larger political surveys, new work with our American Trends Panel and a continued emphasis on larger themes related to political polarization, partisan antipathy, distrust and compromise.”

He further explained that “our October and November plans have changed significantly in that the Center will not be producing likely-voter estimates of the state of the race or making a final projection of the national vote total.” Why the change? “As we developed our research plan for 2016, we put a lot of thought into how the Center might make unique contributions to understanding the forces and dynamics underlying the election,” wrote Dimock.

“This approach was shaped by a sense that our mission – to enrich the public dialogue and support sound decision-making – should push us toward addressing questions that others are not asking, at a depth that others may not have the resources to investigate. It is also a recognition that the field of pre-election ‘horse-race’ polling has become increasingly crowded, including by organizations rightfully putting a focus on polling in key battleground states. Putting resources toward an already saturated market doesn’t make much sense for us.”

He emphasized that the Center was not “going dark” on political coverage. Election-related projects still include a major national survey with a focus on issues, views of the candidates and “the attitudes of Clinton and Trump supporters”; research on the tone and climate of political discussions on social media; and information on Latino voter priorities.