Budget cuts hit the Chestnut Hill Local newspaper

The Chestnut Hill Community Association has cut the Chestnut Hill Local’s budget by $9,000. 

In the past year, the paper has struggled to compete with larger entities such as AOL’s Patch and WHYY’s Newsworks, both of which have a foothold in the hyper-local, web-delivered news media for the Philadelphia region.

Tony Reilly, CHCA’s acting Treasurer, submitted a budget on Thursday night that contained $9,000 in cuts to the community newspaper.

The paper’s Associate Publisher, Larry Hochberger, sat in quiet observation as board members attempted to make sense of the numbers.

“This is the stupidest thing we could possibly do right now,” Board member Art Howe scoffed as he reviewed the numbers. “Do we not have any other levers that we can pull?”

The weekly newspaper, operated by the community association, is not generating as much ad revenues as hoped. 

The paper’s Hochberger did offer the CHCA board some positive news. He submitted a report which shows the Local’s website continues to show increasing traffic and that its recent design could attract in more advertisers the future.

Hochberger seemed determined in spite of the budget’s shortfalls, saying that the staff has always been able to work hard with less.

“We have to get on stable ground and then improve,” Reilly said.

The proposed web portal will be discussed during the September meeting with a presentation by media consultant Mel Taylor, whom the CHCA has hired to assist the group during the development process.

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