The Metro Weekly

From The Infomercantile

Jump to: navigation, search

The The Metro Weekly is a free weekly shopper published in affiliation with the Fargo Forum.

Contents

Contact Information

Email: Editor Laura Stoneburner: lstoneburner@forumcomm.com
Postal Address:

The Metro Weekly
101 5th St N

Fargo, ND 58102
Phone:701-451-5774 or 701-241-5539
Fax:701-241-5497

Circulation

According to the most recent information I could find [1], current circulation is as follows:

  • Fargo: 32,472
  • West Fargo: 6,140
  • Others: 1,088
  • Dilworth: 925
  • Total: 50,591

The Midweek

Delivering the Midweek in the 80s

The Metro Weekly directly originated from the Midweek Eagle, a tabloid-sized free shopper published by Pioneer Press in West Fargo, North Dakota.

First printed in 1971 as the Midweek, it became the Midweek Eagle in 1972 when the namesake bird was added to the masthead. In 1979, the Midweek Eagle was joined by the Midweek Plus (the 'plus' being television listings, if I remember correctly), making the "midweek" a twice-weekly shopper. On 4 January 2000, the two papers were reconsolidated back into the Midweek, whose distribution date was moved to Friday, still not-quite living up to its name.[2]

Affiliation with Forum Communications

In 2005 the Midweek was purchased, along with other Pioneer Press assets, by Forum Communications[3]. After the purchase, the Midweek continued to be published and distributed without much change until the summer of 2006.

Valley Midweek Marketplace

In May or June 2006[4] the Midweek was revised from a tabloid to a broadsheet size, included the same Classified categories as the Fargo Forum, and the advertisements had cross-over possibility from the Forum's classifieds.

Editorial Control

The editor of the Valley Midweek Marketplace was originally Alicia Strnad, who wrote a column for the VMM and mirrored the column at her blog, the Blog Concierge. For part of 2007, however, there did not appear to be any editorial column or byline in the VMM, and the sparse masthead listed no employees in any sort of control of the VMM's content. As of August, 2007, Carrie Carney Joyce and Laura Stoneburner are listed as contacts for the VMM, but neither are identified specifically as an editor.

Opinion: Lacking Local Content and Poor Internet Integration

Summer 2007

While Strnad's columns once appeared as blog articles on AreaVoices.com, her column was apparently pulled sometime in April, 2007. Unlike most free shoppers -- which depend on the community's support and knowledge to survive -- the Valley Midweek Marketplace has no internet presence whatsoever. This Infomercantile page, and an article I wrote a year ago[4], are the only results in Google directly related to the VMM as of October 2007. When I added the phone numbers to this page for Stoneburner and Carney-Joyce in August, I had accidentally mistyped one number; within six weeks, the owner of that incorrect phone number tracked me down and asked me to fix the typo so that people would stop calling. I admit I appreciate the web-traffic, but it is obscene that a large regional news organization, with so many interested parties, would ignore the benefit of the internet in reaching customers.

Other original content, such as the front-page 'splash' articles, do not appear on the Forum's website or elsewhere within the company's sites. The Fargo Forum's classified rate page does not include any documentation on the Valley Midweek Marketplace[5]. This poor show of support would indicate that the Fargo Forum provides little financial support to the free shopper beyond what the advertising brings in.

Strnad's connection with both AreaVoices.com and the Valley Midweek Marketplace would indicate an ideal source of free content to republish under the guise of amateur journalism. In rare cases AreaVoices.com blog content has been republished in the Valley Midweek Marketplace, but much of the paper's content appears to be purchased or copied from outside content sources. For example, the 8 August 2007 issue of the Valley Midweek Marketplace included a short article about the Fargo Walk Of Fame -- whose text was credited to roadsideamerica.com, not anyone affiliated with the paper itself[6]. A few short columns are locally written, such as "Shootin' the Wit" by Stoneburner and "101" by Carney-Joyce. Both first appeared in early July, 2007, around the time Stoneburner and Carney-Joyce were first attached to the masthead. However, these short columns constitute a minor amount of the space in the VMM allocated to columns and articles. The neglectful lack of locally-written content, even on local subjects, is a significant yet correctable detriment to the VMM's value to the community.

While it would seem counterintuitive to publish an article available today online in next week's Marketplace, the audience that picks up and reads a free shopper is somewhat different than those who read blogs, exposing a wider variety of content to a larger audience than either shopper or blogging site can reach on its own.

In summary:

  • Free content pulled from a pool of local writers, the majority of whom address local issues;
  • Self-supporting advertising revenue that makes up the majority of the paper's content;
  • The work of one or two editors, and a small number of advertising sales representatives;
  • Integration of both newspaper readers and internet readers, who will use each part as it fits their needs;
  • Backed by the resources of a large regional newspaper (printing, distribution, etc.);

Holds significant potential for a profitable combination of website and newspaper. It's too bad that Forum Communications ignores all of the above.

Spring 2008

The current crop of editors and writers seem to be bringing the VMM around as a 'city guide'. Recent issues have featured interviews and profiles of local businesses, as well as local business owners, the tone of which is very reminiscent of Howard Binford's Guide and the pre-Forumcomm Midweek. Less content has been coming from news-wires and 'content farms', which gives the newspaper a better local flavor and results in higher readability. The newspaper, however, still lacks a website -- which reduces the potential audience and scope for the VMM's articles. As a proponent of free/registration-free content, I think the VMM would be an excellent place for The Forum to lead readers to the full newspaper site by offering these non-news community-interest articles, short and perfect for internet reading, for free on the internet like the Midweek did before.

The Metro Weekly

In late January 2011, the Valley Midweek Marketplace name was dropped, and the title of the publication was changed to The Metro Weekly. The first issue continued with the same content as the VMM. The Metro Weekly still has no website presence.

Disclaimer

I delivered the Midweek Eagle in the mid-1980s, and in the 2000s an article I wrote appeared in the Valley Midweek Marketplace.

References

  1. MFCP #1458 - Valley Midweek Marketplace, West Fargo ND, MFCP.org, retrieved 11 March 2009.
  2. Newspapers, Page 4, North Dakota State Historical Society, as of 4 May 2007.
  3. Forum Communications Company - History
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fargophilia, "Doorstep Media", 16 June 2006
  5. "Rates for classified advertising in The Forum, and IN-FORUM," In-Forum.com, retrieved 5/1/2007
  6. "Faces and Places", Valley Midweek Marketplace, 8 August 2007.
Views
Personal tools