SKOWHEGAN — Hometown Newspapers LLC, publisher of three weekly newspapers, including the Newport-based SV Weekly-Somerset Times, has suspended some operations and is now emphasizing a single website.

Publisher Robert Pushard said Wednesday the plan is to establish a strong online presence, with versions available on iPad and Android applications.

“We have implemented new technology with one of our editions so that we have a more accessible news portal,” said Pushard, 50. “So rather than being just a print site with a website, like most newspapers, we’re converting to a much more robust and active online presence.”

Hometown Newspapers published the Highlands Journal-Moosehead Times in Greenville, the Citizen Journal in Bangor and SV Weekly, some of which served the Skowhegan and Madison areas. They began publishing in 2007.

The company’s other print publication, the Penobscot Valley Explorer in Lincoln, began publishing last month and will continue with a print version, while being the flagship for the company’s planned online presence, Pushard said.

The web site’s address is

“We’re trying to make news much more accessible to people — to the consumer and to the contributor,” he said.

Maine Seniors and North Country magazines will continue to be published in print, and some of the content also will appear online, he said.

Pushard said he hopes to rekindle a presence in Somerset County, online and possibly in print later, but could not say when that would happen.

Pushard said the paper will maintain a staff of about seven people, including himself and part-time employees. Much of the paper’s content will be written by community contributors, such as bloggers, photographers or parents reporting sports scores.

Pushard pointed out that area residents who go south for the winter will be able to get their local news simply by going online.

“Social media is a big part of our new product,” he said.

The shutdown of the three Hometown Newspapers comes on the heels of the closing of the Capital Weekly in mid-March. That paper had served the Augusta area for 17 years.

Owners Village NetMedia also closed The Bar Harbor Times, VillageSoup Gazette in Rockland, VillageSoup Journal in Belfast and the Scene, an entertainment publication. An announcement on the company’s website site said 56 people had lost their jobs.

“I think the trend is that people are going to want to consume the news on their terms,” Pushard said. “We need to make sure that the news is accessible ,and we need to make sure that the messages from our sponsors are part of the news feed, because that’s ultimately who pays the bills.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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