Competitors no more: Thisweek, Sun papers consolidate in Dakota County

A couple of Thisweek's local editions

Following a late-December acquisition, ECM Publishers will absorb Dakota County’s Sun-Current papers into their Thisweek weeklies March 30.

The renamed papers will be flagged “Sun Thisweek.”

The consolidation was expected; ECM and the Sun papers competed most fiercely in Dakota County. Both chains distributed about 60,000 papers — Thisweek in Burnsville, Eagan, Apple Valley, Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount; Sun in all those communities except Farmington.

Larry Werner, Thisweek’s general manager, says no layoffs will result. Thisweek will add Sun sports columnist Mike Shaughnessy — whom Werner calls “the Sid Hartman of Dakota County” — as well as two pages to what have typical been 14-page editions.

“We’ll save the life of our sports editor, Andy Rogers, who had to cover eight high schools and 80 sports,” says Werner.

Sports and arts sections will each grow from one page to two, reversing cuts made in recent years. The papers’ website will switch from thisweeklive.com to sunthisweek.com.

Two Sun-Current editors have been given positions elsewhere in ECM. Although production has been consolidated, there were no layoffs, and ECM plans to add “one to two salespeople,” Werner says.

ECM — which claimed 700,000-doorstep delivery following  the Sun takeover  — will save money on printing and distribution, which costs far more than editorial, Werner says.

A 10-person staff will fill Thisweek’s three editions: Apple Valley-Rosemount; Burnsville-Eagan; and Farmington-Lakeville. ECM also publishes the subscription-only Dakota County Tribune.

Dakota readers will be getting less newspaper competition, but Werner says the county might have the most competitive market in the state. Rosemount — population 17,000 — has Thisweek, the Forum Communications-owned Rosemount Town Pages, Rosemount Patch and Star Tribune and Pioneer Press weekly or zoned sections. Werner says AOL-owned Patch operates in every Thisweek market except Farmington.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 02/17/2012 - 02:07 pm.

    I’m still getting over the Lakeville Life and Times / Thisweek merger.

  2. Submitted by Rick Ellis on 02/17/2012 - 03:27 pm.

    One slight correction

    Not to be picky, if I recall correctly the latest Census data had the population of Rosemount at just over 21,000.

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