October 5, 2006

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Concord Publisher's Note: Concord’s new paper
By Dan Szczesny

We’ve been pleased at the response that Hippo has received in Concord since we started five years ago, and especially since we began offering more local coverage last November.

Over the years, Concord and all the towns in the northern Merrimack River valley have become an important part of Hippo’s audience.

So we take it as quite a compliment that Concord is about to get another very similar publication. In the next few weeks, our friends at the Concord Monitor plan to launch a free weekly paper that, as we understand it, will be very similar to Hippo.

How similar? Hard to say, but we understand it will focus on arts and entertainment (like Hippo), be published weekly (like Hippo), and be available free (like Hippo). We assume they’ll come up with a different name (other than Hippo), but time will tell.

Why would anyone start a newspaper so similar to one that already exists? Well, as we understand it, there’s one angle that will offer a difference. The Concord Monitor’s new publication will make an effort to concentrate on one place: Concord.

This is distinctly different from Hippo, which each week does contain a good amount of Concord coverage (news, listings and more), but also includes in-depth material from Manchester, Nashua, Derry and other communities in the region.

Why is this significant? Because as we’ve found in six years of publishing Hippo, southern New Hampshire is full of people who are passionate about the things we cover — art, music, film, food, home improvement, and so on. And what’s more, we’ve found that people will travel a few miles (or more) to indulge those passions.

It didn’t used to be this way. Years ago, people in Concord would stay in Concord and people in Manchester would stay in Manchester. People shopped and dined and lived close to home. There was very little interaction, except when high school teams went on the road.

Things are different now. Hometown pride is still important, and a community’s quality of life still very much depends on local hometown issues that Hippo regularly reports on, whether in Concord or Manchester or Nashua.

But no longer are people’s passions limited by old hometown notions of boundaries or borders. People are increasingly willing to explore, to discover, and to make the most of what this region offers.

And one reason this dynamic is taking hold is that people recognize that there really is a lot out there within a 20- or 30-minute drive. You don’t have to go to Boston or New York for great dining or great opera or great art or great independent cinema.

That’s why Hippo covers the whole region. We’re helping you connect the dots in a way no other publication can.

Still, we wish our friends at the Monitor well as they embark on their yet-to-be-announced second hometown paper. Remember, you read it here first!