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Copiah newspapers to merge into one publication

A new publication is coming to Copiah County next week that will provide expanded news coverage for readers and increased advertising coverage and value for area businesses.
Effective with the May 6 issue, the Meteor and the Copiah County Courier will combine to form The Copiah Monitor. The new publication will remove the geographical divide that has been in place for over a century, with the Meteor covering Crystal Springs and the northern half of the county and the Courier covering Hazlehurst and the southern half of the county.
The combination of the two is designed to take both old and well-known publications in the county, combine their resources, and create a stronger newspaper that will provide Copiah County readers a wider range of content, according to John Carney, publisher.
The Meteor was established in 1881 and has operated under that name in Crystal Springs.
Predecessors of the Courier were established as far back as 1884. The Hazlehurst Courier, established in 1895, and a competing newspaper, The Copiah County News, established in Hazlehurst in 1935, were merged into the Copiah County Courier in 1963.
“Combining the newspapers has become necessary because of current business conditions in the newspaper industry,” said Carney.
“In addition, many businesses are currently struggling because of the coronavirus shutdown,” he continued. “With the additional stress of this unprecedented event, it feels like the right time to make this move.”
“This is a business decision that has not been taken lightly. It is designed to make us more efficient with a focus on service to our readers and advertisers. There is content that has been duplicated in both papers through the years, but there is some that is unique to each that others will find interesting and useful. Combining the two titles will allow us to provide all content to our readers county-wide,” Carney said.
Likewise, advertisers in both publications will enjoy the benefits of increased circulation that The Copiah Monitor will provide.
Migration of the newspapers’ websites and social media accounts will begin later this week. Current website domains will redirect to the new starting Friday, May 1. Subscribers to both newspapers will see their subscriptions appropriately extended.
Phone numbers and office locations will remain the same, and friends and customers will see business as usual at the location of their choice.
Crystal Springs and Hazlehurst have always had competing newspapers, and the Carney family has been a part of that since the 1922 purchase of the Meteor by Thomas Frank Godwin. The Carneys acquired the Courier nearly 19 years ago and have worked hard to maintain separate identities for the two.
Consideration was given to combining the names of the two existing newspapers to create the new publication but no matter how it was refined, it seemed to create a long, cumbersome name. It was important to have a publication that each community in the county could consider their own.
A strong community newspaper is vital to maintain a permanent record of happenings, promote events and efforts to grow, and to report on the decisions elected leaders make that affect everyone in the community. Monitor seemed to be a good fit, as the word means the keeping of a continuous record.
Without a reliable source for information, communities struggle. That fact has been seen in the many counties and towns across the country that have lost their community newspapers over the last 10 years.
The Copiah Monitor will be a strong record keeper, as well as an avid supporter of all areas of Copiah County, as the two venerable newspapers that it replaces have done for decades.
“While we strive to cover the community and its events to the best of our ability, we rely heavily on our readers to let us know when they have special events that need covering and to provide tips on anyone they think deserves to be featured on the pages of the paper.
“The decision to combine these two publications that have served our communities so well for over 130 years has been a very difficult process but one that will ensure Copiah County has a strong newspaper for the future. We value your support and friendship as we move into this new chapter,” Carney said.