People in northern Berkshire County will no longer see the North Adams Transcript on their doorsteps in the morning.
After serving North County for more than 170 years under different names, The North Adams Transcript has been folded into The Berkshire Eagle. Using a template from May 23, 1895, the front page of the Transcript’s January 18 and 19th final weekend edition features a history of the paper and thanks its readers for their dedication. Partners since 1996 under New England Newspapers Inc., the two dailies have combined staff and come together under one paper, website and app. Kevin Moran is the vice president of news for New England Newspapers.
“The Berkshire Eagle has always covered the Berkshires from tip to tail,” Moran said. “It is the county’s newspaper. We’ve always had reporters from northern Berkshire County, central Berkshire County and southern Berkshire County. By combining the newsrooms what we are able to do is get a very focused newsgathering team as opposed to two separate entities trying to achieve the same goal, but taking different paths to achieve it. The Berkshire Eagle is clearly the dominate number one news source of the Berkshires. This only strengthens that. I think readers, both in print and online, starting today, have already seen the results of what this looks like…more news.”
Five staff members from the Transcript are now part of the Eagle’s news team and the paper will keep its North Adams office. Moran says the merger was purely a business decision. It is unclear if any jobs were affected outside of the newsgathering team. He adds the two papers coming together goes along with the region’s communities gaining a collaborative identity.
“You’ve seen more coming together,” he said. “Twenty years ago, prior to MASS MoCA for example, you would not be able to say that North Adams is necessarily a cultural center, but it is with MASS MoCA now. So its identity has now unified with the other cultural identities that are known throughout the county. So it’s this really broad sense of the Berkshires that I think the county has become.”
The move has also brought the end of the weekly Advocate, which provided localized coverage of northern Berkshire towns. The Eagle’s arts and cultural magazine, Berkshires Week, will now be published as a standalone every Thursday, starting this week. Previously, it was printed seasonally and within the Eagle’s pages. Moran says he has high hopes for the weekly magazine and says it will include the work of the arts and entertainment editors from partner papers, the Bennington Banner and the Manchester Journal of Vermont. The Eagle’s community engagement editor, Jenn Smith, says the merger will increase the county’s connectivity.
“I kind of joke that when traveling there’s this invisible Mason-Dixon Line in Berkshire County where people only travel so far north or so far south,” Smith said. “But I think between our online connectivity and our expanded circulation we can maybe obliterate that Mason-Dixon Line a bit. Even if people don’t want to get into the car, we can still bring the news and whatever is happening to them.”
The Transcript’s first edition was printed by John Briggs on September 7, 1843 under the title Weekly Transcript. Moran, who got his start at the Transcript as a reporter and worked his way up to editor, says that history will not be forgotten. The Eagle’s masthead on the op-ed page pays tribute to the former beacon of North County news.
“We’re incorporating 171 years of journalism and community leadership from The North Adams Transcript, so we’ve put the Transcript nameplate in our masthead as it should be,” said Moran.