The plan is to fold about a dozen pages of content from USA Today into the Asheville Citizen-Times. It’s a company-wide plan by the newspaper’s corporate owner, Gannett, which the New York Times detailed in December.
Neill said the changes are a necessary evolution for the newspaper.
Newspapers need to evolve or die. There is a generational shift in media preferences, for sure, but a strong newspaper is still critical — especially for the vast legions of baby boomers in Western North Carolina. That’s why we’re introducing new features in the paper over the next couple months. That’s why we’re committed to going in-depth to add more watchdog and investigative work. And that’s why we’re going to introduce more local and national news into the paper and e-newspaper starting Feb. 9. We will add more local news and, in partnership with USA TODAY, we will add more national, sports and lifestyle news. All told, more than 70 pages a week will be added to the Citizen-Times.
Neill is promising more content even as Gannett, and the Citizen-Times, continues to shed employees. Still, the newspaper recently filled a critical job that had been empty for a couple of years – the role of editor. Josh Awtry recently started in that role. We’ll see how this develops.