Chain's Daily Papers to Get Name Change

Ventura County Newspapers announced Thursday that the company is changing the name of its three daily newspapers and two zoned editions--a move aimed partly at attracting a larger advertising base.

The Ventura County Star-Free Press will drop "Free Press" from its masthead to become the Ventura County Star beginning Tuesday, said publisher John P. Wilcox. Two zoned editions of that paper will be called the Oxnard Star and the Camarillo Star.

Two other papers published by the group, the Simi Valley Enterprise and the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle, also will undergo name changes, Wilcox said.

The Simi Valley paper will become the Simi Valley Star & Enterprise and the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle will be published as the Thousand Oaks Star & News Chronicle, Wilcox said.

The Moorpark Mirror, a weekly newspaper published by the group, will not change its name and will continue to be published weekly, Wilcox said.

"We're changing the dailies. We're not doing anything with the weekly," he said. "It's more of a community newspaper exclusively, as opposed to the others that are moving toward being more complete newspapers."

Wilcox said a possible switch to morning publication of the afternoon Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks papers is "not part of this program at all. . . . We haven't firmed up when and really if that will happen."

By including "Star" in the masthead of its daily newspapers, Ventura County Newspapers will appeal to advertisers who prefer a name that is identifiable throughout the market area, Wilcox said. He said that surveys of readers showed "no real concern" about a name change.

The name "Free Press" has been part of Ventura County's newspaper history for 119 years. The Ventura Free Press was founded in 1875 by O.P. Hoddy, said Charles Johnson, librarian at the Ventura County Museum of History and Art.

Roy Pinkerton started the Ventura County Star in 1925. Eleven years later, the Star acquired the Free Press, and in 1938, began publishing as the Ventura County Star-Free Press. All the papers in the Ventura County Newspaper group are part of the Ohio-based Scripps Howard chain.

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