FALMOUTH — Sun Media Group this week announced the consolidation of news operations at its Current Publishing weeklies with The Forecaster newspapers.
Two weeklies whose circulation areas duplicate The Forecaster and provide overlapping local news coverage – the Tri-Town Weekly, covering Freeport, Pownal and Durham, and The Current, covering South Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth – are being published for the final time this week.
Their news operations will be merged with the Northern and Southern editions, respectively, of The Forecaster.
Two other Current weeklies – The American Journal, covering Westbrook, Buxton and Gorham, and the Lakes Region Weekly, covering Bridgton, Casco, Gray, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham – will become the fifth and sixth members of the The Forecaster family, which already extends from Scarborough to Bath.
The advertising and distribution sides of the two organizations were merged a year ago, when Sun Media acquired Current Publishing.
David Costello, vice president of Sun Media and president of The Forecaster, said the merger ensures that readers and advertisers will continue to receive high-quality local newspapers that preserve their favorite features, while costs will be reduced.
Costello said Mo Mehlsak, long-time editor of The Forecaster, would lead the news operations of all six papers. He said he looks forward to seeing the news staffs work together – rather than competing against each other – to deliver comprehensive weekly coverage of Cumberland County.
“We will dominate the Cumberland County market and produce the best community newspapers in the state of Maine,” Costello said, noting the six Forecaster weeklies will have a circulation of more than 80,000 and reach 75 percent of the county’s homes.
“We will also be better online,” Costello continued. “Right now we are serving more than 150,000 unique visitors to our sites each month. We have more than 2 million page views a year, and this is only going to grow.”
Sun Media Group, based in Lewiston, is the largest locally owned media company in Maine, and the fastest growing. It has been publishing the daily Sun Journal in Lewiston for 122 years and also owns seven other weekly newspapers in the state.