Your Not So “Local Newspaper”

By James Courant

Driving Direction to get to the Greeley Tribune’s Real Home Office.

For years there have been very few choices in print media in the Greeley area. To have a story covered in print or a print advertisement the only real choice for years has been the “local” paper, the Greeley Tribune. However, while the Tribune is located in Greeley, it is actually owned, and more importantly, controlled by a huge multi-state corporation, Swift Communications, based in Nevada. This same company owns the Fence Post and Windsor Now and many other publications across six states. Of course, La Tribuna and that free paper we all drive over until it becomes the soggy mush we stick in the trash can on trash day are also provided by Swift Communications via the Greeley Tribune.

Unfortunately, according to many, the monopoly that Swift Communications has enjoyed in Greeley through its ownership of the Tribune has come at a high cost to the community.  News and content that are the central purpose of a “home town” newspaper have become money making staples for Swift Communications. Consider obituaries. Nothing is more “local” than the passing of residents and the honoring of that passing. Sadly, it’s expensive to die with the Swift Communications and the Tribune around. The following is a quote from the Tribune’s Website:

“Obituaries at The Greeley Tribune are a paid service. Submit your information below and a representative from The Greeley Tribune will contact you with a quote.”

Charging for obituary listings appears to be common among the Swift network of papers as evidenced by this quote from the Grand Junction paper’s website,“Obituaries at The Grand Junction Free Press are a PAID service. Submit your information below and a representative from GJFP will contact you with a quote.” (sound familiar?) The Snowmass Sun charges by the word for obituaries, up to $265 if you want to include a picture. The Aspen Times has the same set-up, but pricier… up to $390 with a picture.

Another staple of local information are weekend Garage Sale ads. There are literally scores of these tiny events every Friday and Saturday during the summer months in Greeley and its surrounding communities. The Tribune charges $30 for a two day garage sale ad with a photo. A check of other Swift Communications publications revealed similar pricing at many of the other papers owned by Swift.

While pricing seems to vary based on local markets, the policy appears to be set by the home office in Nevada. Also, when visiting the websites of each of these “local” papers, the layout for each site was exactly the same. This uniformity lends credence to the argument that these “local” papers are being controlled in a very real way by corporate big-wigs behind desks in Nevada.

Photo Caption:

Driving Direction to get to the Greeley Tribune’s Real Home Office.

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3 Responses to Your Not So “Local Newspaper”

  1. bumpkin2001 says:

    You know I hear Rush on my local station, does it really matter if he’s actually broadcasting from CO or if his sponsors are local or non local? What’s the point of this aritcle? A person can do business with whomever they choose to do business with as a means in the effort to get their information out and visa versa with a privatedly owned business. Again what’s the point? Just informational?…that weird

  2. James says:

    True, but I never heard Rush pretending to be local. It is also interesting to see how Swift Com makes money on things that honestly should be local news, not paid spots.

  3. Big Thompson says:

    I guess i’m in favor of a truly local paper too.
    I don’t like bait & switch. If you claim to be local you should have local ownership. Syndication is legal and I suppose it has a place in the media, however it should be a known fact. In Greeley, I think few really know where these publications really originate.

    I try to avoid heat & eat chain restaurants and I don’t really care for Chain Newspapers either !

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