By Matt Lewis
TUCSON, ARIZ. – The pool of media owners and entrepreneurs just got a little smaller. An East-Valley area publication, San Tan Valley Today, has transferred ownership recently. A sale, or merger, has combined Today Publications, the owner of San Tan Valley Today, and the Carnes family, owners of Copper Area News Publishing Company. The alternative news monthly print product and daily online website was sold by owner Stacy Deprey-Purper and others invested in the venture. The start-up publishing company was designed to cover an under-served area of San Tan Valley, an unincorporated area that lies smack dab on the dividing line between Pinal and Maricopa Counties.
The late-night comedians need look no further than Arizona, once again. The media down-sizing means the expansion of an miniature media empire. While this transfusion is not the end of good journalism in the state, it could mean that perspectives from the fourth-estate will become even more limited. The Grand Canyon state has already taken some heat in the past for their lack of diverse political and cultural opinions of the ruling powers that be. The Republicans and Tea Party will have the last laugh when only two family publications remain to cover much of Pinal County, and also a portion of Maricopa. These outfits are more easily manipulated, they typically have smaller staffs, and they become complacent since they have a majority stake within their industry. These companies have limited – if any – competition. Only working as hard as they need to stay solvent, these companies are not firing on all cylinders, as I believe they should. The level of solvency is not longer determined by subscribers. Advertisers largely control these “news” operations, and the stories they run. These same “advertisers” often are run by the governing party (parties). The balance in coverage may suffer as a result. I am not stating their reporting will; nor am I accusing the Carnes family of falling prey to the pitfalls I listed above – I am merely pointing out an observation as a media insider. In the spirit of full disclosure, I used to be an intern for a Carnes-family newspaper, the San Manuel Miner. My experience was nothing but amicable and professional with these individuals and the chain of newspapers they ran.