‘Transcript’ to merge with ‘Eagle;’ ‘Advocate’ to fold

Following a Jan. 2 announcement, the North Adams Transcript will be merging with the Berkshire Eagle, a Pittsfield-based publication. The Advocate, another long-running publication in the Berkshires, will fold.

The Colorado-based MediaNews Group has owned both the Transcript and the Eagle since the 1990s, and the Advocate was acquired by MediaNews in 2005.

According to Kevin Moran, regional vice president of News for New England Newspaper Inc., very little will change in terms of news coverage for North Berkshire County. “We’re keeping the Transcript’s full time news-gathering staff in North County—three reporters and a photographer.” “We’re not reducing coverage, and we may even have a little bit more coverage of the North County area.”

Moran emphasized the inclusive nature of the Eagle’s coverage. “We’re not the Pittsfield Eagle, we’re the Berkshire Eagle,” Moran said. “It’s our job to serve the entire county with news, features, sports, entertainment, you name it. Plus, the Berkshire Eagle is 2-3 times the size of the Transcript. We were very careful by doing this that readers got a benefit, not a subtraction, and I believe we’ve succeeded in doing that.”

All existing subscribers to the North Adams Transcript began receiving the Berkshire Eagle on Monday, Jan. 20. The Eagle’s circulation received a boost from the transition: “We should see strong numbers, and in a couple of months we should have a firm idea of what the print circulation will be,” Moran said.

In light of the merge, the Eagle is expanding Berkshires Week Magazine. Previously, the arts and entertainment insert only ran during the summer season, but it will now run 52 weeks out of the year. The insert will also now be included in the Manchester Journal and the Bennington Banner.

“We’re doing this because if you look at Route 7 and our area, there’s so much culture, so why stop at the border between Mass. and Vermont?” Moran said. “This gives readers and fans of Berkshires Week a more complete picture. If someone wants to read about the Oldcastle Theater in Bennington, they can now do that. Berkshires Week will have a circulation of more than 40,000 copies, and will be a complete resource for culture, arts, and entertainment for the Berkshires and for southwestern Vermont.”

Moran said, “We’ve made this merging of the newsrooms with a keen sense of respect for not only our readership in northern Berkshire County, but also with great reverence for 171 years of journalism and community leadership that the North Adams Transcript has had.” This merger will allow for more efficient news distribution throughout Berkshire county in the coming year.