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TimesLedger opens paper for Woodside, Sunnyside

Until now the TimesLedger papers have covered Woodside, a traditional center of Irish immigration with Old World-style bars and a passion for soccer, as part of the Astoria Times founded more than six years ago. The Astoria Times also served Sunnyside, once home to rolling farms and swamp lands, now charged with the same ethnic diversity that drove National Geographic to label nearby Elmhurst the most diverse in the nation.

These communities are now served by the Woodside Times, part of the TimesLedger family that has won hundreds of state and national awards for journalistic excellence.

"We're giving a voice to the community," Blank said. That community voice is one of the basic reasons "that newspapers are the only business that's protected by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

Since 1989, when Blank bought the Bayside Times and the Little Neck Ledger, the papers have provided a unique brand of community-oriented coverage. Over the years, the chain grew first to 14 papers and now to 16.

"We've demonstrated with the other 14 papers that there is a demand for what we provide," Blank said of the nuts-and-bolts reporting that tackles the issues affecting the people who populate a neighborhood, the politicians who represent it, the police and firemen who protect it and the stores that call it home.

As the new papers come on line, the TimesLedger reporting staff will expand, bringing more depth to the broad coverage of Queenswide issues, such as Willets Point development, hunger and the city's 2012 Olympic bid, which know no geographic boundaries, Blank said.

The papers' launch also provides advertisers, especially smaller outfits with limited resources, with an opportunity to target specifically the customers most likely to frequent their establishments, Blank said.

"No other Queenswide publication covers Queens communities like we do," Blank said.

Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group