At Issue #2911 – Small Town Newspapers

At Issue #2911 – Small Town Newspapers


[MUSIC]>>>AND WELCOME TO “AT ISSUE.” MY NAME IS H. WAYNE WILSON. WHEN WE SAY NEWSPAPER, QUITE OFTEN WE THINK OF THE “PANTAGRAPH”, THE “REGISTERED MAIL,” THE “JOURNAL STAR,” “STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER.” BUT THERE ARE A LOT MORE NEWSPAPERS OUT THERE SERVING PRIMARILY RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT DO — THEY FILL IN THE GAP SO TO SPEAK. AND WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES AND THE SUCCESSES OF LOCAL WEEKLY PAPERS WITH A PANEL OF LOCAL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS. JIM NOWLAN IS HERE. JIM, YOU MAY RECOGNIZE JIM–HIS POLITICAL BACKGROUND, BUT HE IS HERE TODAY — ARE YOU THE OWNER OF “THE STARK COUNTY NEWS”?>>PRESIDENT OF A SMALL CORPORATION.>>PRESIDENT OF “THE STARK COUNTY NEWS.” AND YOU HAVE BEEN PUBLISHING THE NEWSPAPER SINCE –>>WELL MY GRANDFATHER WAS — STARTED IT IN 1897, AND IT HAS BEEN — IT WAS DEFUNCT FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS, AND I RESTARTED IT WHEN I MOVED BACK HOME ABOUT 12 YEARS AGO.>>AND ALSO WITH US IS ZACH ZIEGLER. ZACH IS WITH THE “HENRY NEWS REPUBLICAN.” HOW LONG HAS THE “HENRY NEWS REPUBLICAN” BEEN IN THE FAMILY?>>MY GRANDPARENTS OWNED IT. THEY BOUGHT IT IN 1966, AND MY PARENTS BOUGHT IT FROM MY GRANDPARENTS IN 1997. AND, HOPEFULLY, HERE IN A FEW MONTHS, I WILL BE RECEIVING IT FROM MY MOTHER OR PURCHASING IT FROM MY MOTHER, AND IT WILL BE MINE HERE IN A FEW MONTHS OR YEARS.>>AND THAT’S AFTER ZACH GETS HIS DEGREE IN BUSINESS FROM ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY. ALSO WITH US IS WENDY MARTIN. SHE IS WITH — TWO NEWSPAPERS ACTUALLY, THE “FULTON DEMOCRAT” AND THE “MASON COUNTY DEMOCRAT”. YOU ARE THE SENIOR CITIZEN SO TO SPEAK, I HOPE YOU DON’T MIND THAT TERM.>>I AM THE SENIOR CITIZEN.>>HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN IN YOUR FAMILY?>>IT HAS BEEN IN OUR FAMILIES SINCE 1855.>>THE “MASON COUNTY DEMOCRAT” HAS BEEN IN AND OUT OF THE FAMILY SINCE 1849.>>ALSO WITH US IS THE YOUNGSTER OF THE GROUP. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT CHRONOLOGICAL AGE, I AM TALKING ABOUT NEWSPAPER AGE. JEFF LAMPE IS HERE.>>HOW LONG –>>WE CREATED A PAPER IN 2013. WE ARE THE LITTLE BABY AT THE TABLE I GUESS.>>THAT’S “THE WEEKLY POST” IS THE NAME OF THAT NEWSPAPER.>>CORRECT.>>FOR THOSE OF YOU SAYING JEFF LAMPE. YES, HE WAS THE OUTDOOR SPORTS GUY AT THE “PEORIA JOURNAL STAR”.>>IN ANOTHER LIFE, I WORKED AT THE “JOURNAL STAR” SIX YEARS AGO.>>THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE. I THINK WHERE WE WANT TO START IS THERE A WAY TO DESCRIBE OR TO DEFINE A WEEKLY PAPER, IS THAT POSSIBLE OTHER THAN IT COMES OUT ONCE A WEEK?>>YOU KNOW, TWO THINGS COME TO MIND. I REMEMBER WORKING AT A LARGER PAPER WHERE I WAS TOLD WE DO NOT EVER PUT PICTURES OF SOMEONE HOLDING A CHECK IN OUR PAPER, AND A WEEKLY PAPER WE WILL PUT IT IN THERE. IF WE CAN GET A FACE, AND A NAME AND SOME NEWS, WE WILL DO IT. ALSO, WE RUN A BIG TOMATO CONTEST. I DON’T THINK SOME OF THE LARGER PAPERS THINK THAT IS VERY NEWS WORTHY. TO ME, THAT’S THE ONE OF THE FAVORITE FEATURES OF THE WHOLE THING IS THE BIG TOMATO CONTEST. THAT KIND OF NEWS MAYBE NOT EARTH SHATTERING OR WORLD BREAKING, BUT SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT TO TALK ABOUT IN THE COMMUNITY, THAT’S THE ESSENCE TO SOME DEGREE.>>WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF NEWSWEEKLY VERSUS DAILY?>>LOCAL. IT IS THE LOCAL NEWS. THE NEWS WE COVER IS THE NEWS YOU ARE NOT GOING TO READ ANYWHERE ELSE, AND IF YOU READ IT, IF IT IS ON FACEBOOK, YOU CAN AT LEAST BE SURE WE GOT THE STORY RIGHT. AND THAT’S WHAT WE DO.>>JIM, YOU WERE GOING TO ADD SOMETHING ELSE.>>WELL, WE ARE SOCIAL ANIMALS, AND WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND US AMONG THE FOLKS AROUND US. AND WHEN I WAS A YOUNGSTER GROWING UP THE “STARK COUNTY NEWS” PERSONALS WERE THE BIG ITEMS, WHERE DID THE NEIGHBORS HAVE DINNER ON SATURDAY NIGHT, AND THAT’S TODAY’S FACEBOOK. BUT WE ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. OUR “STARK COUNTY NEWS” COVERS SIX LOCAL GOVERNMENTS EVERY MONTH. THERE IS GOING TO BE A COUNTY BOARD MEETING COMING UP AT 7:00 A.M., AND WE WILL BE THERE COVERING IT AND TELLING FOLKS WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUDGETING AND TAXATION AND WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE SCHOOLS, AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET THAT FROM THE BIGGER PAPERS.>>PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY, WELL, I WILL JUST GOOGLE ANY NEWS I NEED. BUT I CHALLENGE PEOPLE TO FIND A LOT OF THESE SCHOOL BOARDS, THESE VILLAGE BOARDS. THERE IS NOTHING TO GOOGLE. THERE IS NOT ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET. AND SO SOMEONE NEEDS TO COVER THESE BODIES, NOT THAT THEY ARE CHEATING OR DOING ANYTHING BAD, BUT IT IS OUR TAXPAYER’S MONEY IN A LOT OF CASES AND IT IS TO THE IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GOOGLE STARK COUNTY FOR A LOT OF THE NEWS THEY GET OUT OF YOUR PUBLICATION, I AM SURE.>>IT IS THE STUFF PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR ON A WEEKLY BASIS. IT IS NOT NECESSARILY LIKE EMERGENCY NEWS YOU NEED TO FIND OUT RIGHT AWAY. IT IS THE STUFF THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS, THE CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS, THE POLICE REPORTS OR OTHER STUFF THAT IS GOING ON IN THE COMMUNITY THAT PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT, THAT THEY DESERVE TO KNOW ABOUT, AND THEY ARE GOING TO GET A TRUE STORY EVERY WEEK FROM SOMEBODY NOT JUST WHAT YOU HEAR AROUND TOWN.>>ONE THING I HAVEN’T HEARD YET IS SPORTS. WHAT PAPERS — I KNOW YOU DO SPORTS.>>OH, YEAH.>>I HAVE PICKED UP A COPY OF IT. WHY DO YOU — NOT THAT YOU DON’T DO NEWS, BUT WHY DO YOU DO SO MUCH SPORTS IN YOUR NEWSPAPER?>>WELL, I MEAN I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED SPORTS AND I DO FEEL LIKE IT IS A FOCUS FOR THE COMMUNITY, THE SMALL COMMUNITIES, YOU SEE THE PEOPLE AT THE GAMES. PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT THROUGHOUT THE WEEK. AND, YOU KNOW, THE LARGER PAPERS FOUND A TOUGHER TIME GETTING TO THE SMALL COMMUNITIES TO COVER THE TEAMS. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, JUST DON’T HAVE THE STAFFING TO DO IT ANY MORE. SO THEY KIND OF HAVE TO PULL THINGS IN A LITTLE BIT. AS THEY DO THAT, THERE IS MORE OF A MARKET TO COVER THE TEAMS IN FARMINGTON AND ELMWOOD AND BRIMFIELD AND PRINCEVILLE, AND EVERYWHERE ELSE, MAYBE ACCUSTOMED TO FULL OF COVERAGE THEY ARE NOT GETTING BUT IT IS ALSO FUN. IT IS ALWAYS FUN TO BE IN THE KNOW. YOU TALKED TO THE COACH, WHAT DID HE SAY ABOUT MY KID? THAT’S A GOOD CONVERSATION TO HAVE. IT CREATES RELEVANCE.>>IT MEANS YOU WORK ON FRIDAY NIGHTS DURING FOOTBALL SEASON.>>AND SATURDAY AFTERNOONS, TOO, YEAH, RIGHT.>>JIM, DO YOU DO ANY SPORTS?>>STARK COUNTY FINAL OR IN THE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS FOR 22 YEARS IN A ROW. SO YOU THINK WE ARE NOT GOING TO COVER FOOTBALL! (LAUGHING) YES, THE BACK PAGE, AND INSIDE PAGES ARE FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL, AND THAT’S PART OF THE SOCIAL LIFE OF OUR COMMUNITY. VERY IMPORTANT. BUT WE ALSO COVER THE SCHOOL BOARD, AND TALK ABOUT TEACHER ISSUES AND ABOUT BUDGETS AND ABOUT STEM EDUCATION AND SO IT IS NOT JUST SPORTS.>>ZACH, SPORTS IN YOUR NEWSPAPER?>>WE ARE VERY BIG INTO SPORTS. THE TRACK AND CROSS-COUNTRY TEAMS ARE VERY SUCCESSFUL FOR — IT IS HENRY MIDLAND COMBINED, AND THEY ARE IN THE CROSS-COUNTRY SEASON, USUALLY THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING ON THE FRONT PAGE BECAUSE THEY ARE ALWAYS WINNING OR THEY ARE ALWAYS VERY COMPETITIVE. TRACK IS ALWAYS VERY COMPETITIVE AND THE STATE TOURNAMENT. AND WE ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING ON THAT. BASKETBALL, WE USED TO HAVE SOMEBODY THAT WOULD GO TO EVERY SINGLE GAME AND BE THERE TO REPORT IT, BUT HERE RECENTLY, WE HAVEN’T REALLY HAD THAT. BUT SOMETHING I AM LOOKING TO GET BACK INTO TO BE THERE TO GET OUT TO PEOPLE.>>AND DOWN IN FULTON, MASON COUNTY, HOW ABOUT SPORTS?>>WELL, MY HUSBAND IS THE PHOTOGRAPHER. SO HE TAKES THE PICTURES AT THE GAMES. THAT’S PROBABLY KIND OF WHERE I DRAW THE LINE IS I DO JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE BUT SPORTS. SO WE DO DEPEND ON OTHER PEOPLE TO DO THE SPORTS FOR US.>>JIM, EARLIER YOU MENTIONED FACEBOOK. I’D LIKE TO HEAR WHAT THE WEEKLIES DO WITH REGARDS TO SOCIAL MEDIA. DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND WHAT CAPACITY MIGHT THAT BE?>>YES, WE ARE ON FACEBOOK AND WE HAVE A WEB SITE, AND WE RECEIVE MORE TRAFFIC THERE THAN WE DO IN PRINT. BUT I STILL CONTINUE TO THINK THAT PRINT IS THE CRITICAL MEDIUM OF COMMUNICATION WITH OUR READERS.>>AND, JEFF?>>I DON’T LIKE HARVARD GUYS. SO I AM NOT INTERESTED IN MAKING MONEY FOR FACEBOOK WHICH IS STARTED BY SOME HARVARD GUYS! (LAUGHING) I DO SEE SOME BENEFITS, BUT I DON’T SEE FINANCIAL BENEFITS FOR OUR PUBLICATION. SO I’D RATHER HAVE PEOPLE GO TO THE NEWSPAPER TO GET THEIR INFORMATION THAT WE HAVE GOT BECAUSE IN THE PAGES OF THE NEWSPAPER ARE MY ADVERTISERS, AND I WANT YOU TO SEE THE ADVERTISERS EVERY TIME YOU GET THE NEWS. IN FACEBOOK, I CAN’T PROMISE THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. WE DO VERY LITTLE SOCIAL MEDIA WISE.>>WENDY.>>WE HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE AND ALL THAT. I AM NOT A BIG FAN. I DON’T THINK THAT THERE IS ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY TO BE MAKING THE REQUIRED SIX POSTS TO FACEBOOK AND THREE TWEETS AND WHATEVER. WE HAVE A WEB SITE. I AM REALLY HAPPY WITH THE WEB SITE WE HAVE. THE NEWSPAPER IS THERE. YOU CAN CLICK THROUGH THE — PAGE THROUGH THE WHOLE NEWSPAPER AS IT APPEARS WITH THOSE ADVERTISERS’ ADS SHOWING. YOU CAN READ THE HEADLINES. YOU CAN SEE THE PICTURES. THERE IS A PAY WALL. SO IF YOU WANT TO READ THE STORY AND YOU CLICK, IT WILL ASK YOU TO SIGN IN. IF YOU AREN’T A SUBSCRIBER, IT WILL INVITE YOU TO SUBSCRIBE.>>FOR YOU, ZACH.>>WE DO NOT HAVE ANY SOCIAL MEDIA AFFILIATION. WE KIND OF JUST LET IT STAY HOW IT IS WITH ACTUAL USING THE PRINT ADVERTISING AND BEING A PRINT MEDIUM BASED PAPER. DON’T REALLY MESS WITH ANY OF IT. IT IS NOT REALLY NECESSARY FOR US. PEOPLE SAY WE SHOULD DO IT, BUT THAT’S — IT IS OUR DECISION, AND THAT WHAT WE HAVE CHOSEN TO DO IS TO NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE INTERNET.>>AND THE QUESTION IS ADVERTISERS. YOU ARE A FREE DISTRIBUTION, JEFF.>>PRINT 9,000 A WEEK.>>AND THE REST OF YOU ARE PAID?>>YES.>>SUBSCRIPTION NEWSPAPERS. SO I’D LIKE TO HEAR WHY YOU ARE FREE AND HOW THAT WORKS WITH REGARD TO ADVERTISING.>>IN THE RURAL COMMUNITIES, IT IS A DIFFICULT THING TO RUN A BUSINESS. YOU ARE CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO GET RICH PROBABLY IN A LOT OF CASES. AND IF WE CAN GO TO EVERY HOME IN THE COMMUNITY AND BRING THE PAPER AND YOUR AD TO THEM, THERE IS A MUCH BETTER CHANCE SOMEONE IS GOING TO SEE IT AND COME IN AND SPEND SOME MONEY WITH YOUR BUSINESS. THAT’S BEEN THE MENTALITY. WE NEED TO HELP THE ADVERTISERS. THEY HELP THE PAPER AND WE ALL BUILD A BETTER COMMUNITY IN THAT WAY. THE LARGER PAPERS JUST DON’T HAVE THE PENETRATION IN THE SMALL SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES THEY USED TO. SO TO ADVERTISE WITH THEM WHILE IT IS KIND OF NEAT TO BE IN A BIG PAPER, IS IT VERY EFFECTIVE? HAS IT REALLY WORKED? DOES IT MAKE THE BOTTOM LINE BETTER? I WOULD SUBMIT IT DOESN’T IN A LOT OF CASES FOR THE SMALL BUSINESSES. THAT’S KIND OF THE MENTALITY. IF EVERYBODY HAS THE PAPER AND PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT AND READING AND LOOKING AT IT FOR A PERIOD OF TIME BECAUSE THERE IS ACTUAL NEWS IN IT. WE HAVE A LOT OF SHOPPERS WE DEAL WITH. AND THEY DO A WONDERFUL JOB OF SPREADING NEWS. THERE IS NOT MUCH TO READ IN THEM, TO HOLD ONTO TO SEE THAT AD NEXT DOOR. THAT WAS KIND OF THE MENTALITY OF THAT.>>WENDY, YOU HAVE HAD EXPERIENCE BOTH AS A FREE DISTRIBUTION AND A SUBSCRIPTION NEWSPAPER. YOU ACTUALLY WENT FREE AND THEN CAME BACK TO SUBSCRIPTION. WHY DID YOU DO THAT? I WE HAD SOME COMPETITION COME IN THAT WAS OPERATING AS A FREE NEWSPAPER, AND SO — THIS IS 20 YEARS AGO. WE FELT LIKE THE BEST WAY TO COMPETE WAS TO BE FREE OURSELVES. AND WHEN THEY WERE DONE AND WENT THEIR WAY, AND WE STAYED, WE WENT BACK TO BEING A PAID CIRCULATION NEWSPAPER, AND IT WAS, YOU KNOW, A DELIBERATE EFFORT TO DO THAT. BUT OUR CIRCULATION, OUR PAID CIRCULATION WAS BACK AS STRONG AS IT WAS WHEN WE STARTED. YOU KNOW, IT IS NOT WEEKLIES COST A LOT OF MONEY. I THINK 42, 45, $47 A YEAR, MAYBE. AND BACK THEN, WE WERE PROBABLY, YOU KNOW, 28. SO IT IS NOT EXPENSIVE.>>THAT’S THE ONE THING USED TO ALWAYS DRIVE ME CRAZY. PEOPLE WOULD COMPLAIN ABOUT A CIRCULATION PRICE. THEY WOULD BUY 1.65 SODA AND BUY A NEWSPAPER FOR A DOLLAR AND COMPLAIN ABOUT THE NEWSPAPER BEING EXPENSIVE. THEY DRINK THE SODA IN A COUPLE OF MINUTES AND STILL HAVE PAPER THEY ARE READING. HOW CAN YOU BE UPSET FOR PAYING THAT ONE DOLLAR FOR SOMETHING THAT WILL STICK WITH YOU. YOU WILL CLIP PICTURES OUT OF TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT. IT IS REALLY A SMALL COST.>>IT IS STILL LESS THAN A DOLLAR A WEEK.>>YEAH.>>AND PEOPLE DON’T APPRECIATE OUR NEWSPAPERS GO BEYOND OUR IMMEDIATE CIRCULATION AREA. WE HAVE HUNDREDS OF SUBSCRIPTIONS THAT GO TO FORMER RESIDENTS WHO STILL DO THEIR BANKING AND INSURANCE WORK LOCALLY. SO THOSE ADVERTISEMENTS FROM OUR LOCAL PAPER ARE IMPORTANT BEYOND WHAT A FREE CIRCULATION PAPER WOULD DO. NOW WE HAPPEN TO HAVE A FREE CIRCULATION PUBLICATION AS WELL, AND WE THINK THE TWO COMPLEMENT ONE ANOTHER.>>THE “PRAIRIE SHOPPER.”>>YES.>>THERE IS A UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI STUDY THAT SAID THAT THREE QUARTERS OF RESPONDENTS READ MOST OR ALL OF THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER EVERY WEEK. I’D LIKE TO EXTEND THAT CONVERSATION TO THE POINT WHERE YOU MAY HAVE SO MANY SUBSCRIBERS, BUT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE THAT THEY HAND IT OUT TO, YOU KNOW, MY AUNT OR MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR OR DO YOU GET MUCH MORE COVERAGE THAN JUST THE SUBSCRIPTIONS?>>YOU KNOW HOW NEWS TRAVELS IN SMALL TOWNS. IF IT IS IN THE NEWSPAPER, PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT. WE DISTRIBUTE RIGHT AROUND 2,000, AND WE HAVE SUBSCRIPTIONS THAT GET MAILED OUT THROUGH THE MAIL, AND WE ALSO HAVE NEWSSTANDS, WHETHER IT BE GROCERY STORE OR GAS STATION OR OTHER PLACES WHERE PEOPLE CAN PICK IT UP. AND, SAY, YOU HAVE GOT ONE PERSON THAT BUYS THE NEWSPAPER AND READS A STORY AND THEY LIKE IT AND THEY SAY SOMETHING TO THREE PEOPLE. THERE IS THREE MORE PEOPLE GOING TO BUY THE NEWSPAPER. THAT’S BEEN SUCCESSFUL FOR US IN GETTING THE NEWS OUT. NOT EVERYBODY MAY BUY IT, AND IT IS THEIR CHOICE TO BUY IT. BUT IF PEOPLE ARE LIKING WHAT WE ARE PUTTING IN THERE, THEN THEY ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT AND SAY SOMETHING TO SOMEBODY ELSE. SOMEBODY ELSE IS GOING TO WANT TO SEE THAT THEMSELVES SO THEY WILL GO BUY IT. OUR PAPER ONLY COSTS 50 CENTS. SO IT’S NOT LIKE THEY ARE BREAKING THE BANK TO GO BUY THE NEWSPAPER. THEY CAN GO PICK IT UP ANYWHERE IN TOWN.>>I STOPPED AT 111 COFFEE SHOP IN WYOMING THIS MORNING ON MY WAY DOWN HERE, AND NOTICED A LADY READING THE “STARK COUNTY NEWS” FROM THE RACK IN THE COFFEE SHOP. OF COURSE, THE LIBRARIES AND OTHER SETTINGS HAVE THE PAPERS AVAILABLE WHICH SUGGESTS THE READERSHIP IS FAR BEYOND THE IMMEDIATE CIRCULATION.>>I THINK THAT’S ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS OF NEWSPAPERDOM TO DELIVER THE PAPER AND HAVE THEM IMMEDIATELY START READING IT. THE CONVERSATION MIGHT STOP BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY ENGROSSED IN THAT PAPER. I THINK THAT’S ONE OF THE REASONS, AT LEAST FOR ME, THAT’S WHY I DO THE JOB BECAUSE IT IS OF INTEREST TO PEOPLE, AND TO SEE THAT, LIKE YOU SAW, THAT’S A GREAT THING.>>WE HAVE A LOT OF FUN — I MEAN I HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE EVERY WEEK WITH THE NEWSPAPER. WITH OUR TWO NEWSPAPERS, IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO REALIZE HOW DIFFERENT THEY WERE. ONE OF THEM COMPETES WITH THE DAILY AND THE OTHER ONE DOESN’T. AND IT IS, YOU KNOW, GOT REAL SOLID CIRCULATION. IT IS THE BIGGEST PAPER IN THE COUNTY. THAT PAPER ON TUESDAY MORNING WHEN THE PAPERS ARE JUST OFF THE PRESS, WE HAVE PEOPLE LINED UP WAITING TO GET THEIR PAPER. AND WE SELL A QUARTER OF OUR NEWSSTAND COPIES ON TUESDAY MORNING FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN’T WAIT TO GET THEIR PAPER. BY GOD, BUY YOUR OWN! THIS ONE IS MINE. THEY WANT TO BE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO KNOW THE NEWS. AND OTHER PAPER WHICH COMPETES AGAINST “THE DAILY,” AND THEY HAVE THIS DAILY HABIT, PEOPLE GET THE PAPER, AND THEY HAVE GOT ALL WEEK TO READ IT. AND I RUN AROUND TOWN WITH “FULTON DEMOCRAT” IN MY HAND, AND PEOPLE WILL SAY “OH, THE “FULTON DEMOCRAT”. I LOVE THAT PAPER. I READ MY MOTHER’S EVERY THURSDAY.” OH, THE “FULTON DEMOCRAT,” THAT’S A GREAT NEWSPAPER BEINGS, I GIVE MINE TO MY BROTHER’S ON SATURDAYS.” IF WE HAD THAT PASS ALONG CIRCULATION, IT WOULD BE CRAZY.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT ONE OF THE, USE THAT FACES THE REAL COMMUNITY, WAY BEYOND NEWSPAPER, AND THAT IS DECLINING POPULATION. NOT ALL COMMUNITIES ARE DECLINING IN POPULATION. BUT IN GENERAL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, SMALLER TOWNS ARE STATIC. SOME ARE GROWING, BUT THERE IS THIS DECLINE IN THIS POPULATION. IS THERE A CONCERN AMONGST ANY OF YOU THAT MIGHT IMPACT YOUR NEWSPAPER EVENTUALLY, THAT THE AUDIENCE JUST ISN’T THERE TO MAKE IT WORK FINANCIALLY?>>NATURALLY, IT IS A CONCERN. I MEAN THERE HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT DECLINE OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN RURAL ILLINOIS ACCORDING TO THE ILLINOIS INSTITUTE FOR RURAL AFFAIRS DURING THE PAST CENSUS PERIOD. SO IT HAS TO BE OF CONCERN TO US, AND THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THE NEWSPAPERS CAN DO AND THAT IS PROMOTE THE COMMUNITIES AND WORK WITH THE SCHOOLS TO MAKE THE SCHOOLS STRONGER AND MORE ATTRACTIVE TO YOUNG FAMILIES WHO MIGHT WANT TO MOVE TO A TOWN OF DEAR HEARTS AND GENTLE PEOPLE AND GOOD SCHOOLS. SO IT IS PART OF OUR CHALLENGE, AND WE WORK ON IT.>>YOU HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE SOME OF YOUR COMMUNITIES ACTUALLY ARE GROWING.>>WELL, OUR PROXIMITY TO PEORIA WITH BRIMFIELD AND EDWARDS AND EVEN ELMWOOD TO A LESSER DEGREE AND PRINCEVILLE, YOU GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE MOVING OUT INTO THOSE COMMUNITIES, MAYBE NOT DIRECTLY INTO THE DOWNTOWN AREA, BUT THE SURROUNDING AREA. SO WE ACTUALLY HAVE SOME POPULATION GROWTH. BUT YOU TALK ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE, ONE OF THE THINGS ALWAYS STRUCK ME WHEN WE CREATED THIS PAPER, ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE HEARD AGAIN AND AGAIN IS PEOPLE SAYING I DIDN’T KNOW THERE WAS SO MUCH GOING ON AROUND TOWN. WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A SOURCE TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND THERE, SOMETIMES IT IS HARD TO FIND IT YOU MIGHT NOT BE ON THE RIGHT FACEBOOK PAGE OR WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE. SUDDENLY THERE IS A WHOLE WORLD OF THERE IS ACTUALLY STUFF GOING ON IN THIS LITTLE TOWN. IT IS KIND OF NICE TO READ ABOUT IT.>>WE HAD A RUNWAY FASHION SHOW AT 111 COFFEE PUT ON BY 7TH STREET BOUTIQUE IN WYOMING THIS PAST WEEK. AND WE WERE ABLE TO PUBLICIZE IT BEFORE, AND WE WILL DO FOLLOW-UP WITH A LOT OF PICTURES OF VERY ATTRACTIVE LADIES.>>THAT’S ALWAYS A GOOD THING, RIGHT, GOOD FEATURE! (LAUGHING)>>YEAH.>>LET’S TURN TO — I WANT TO STAY ON THE ADVERTISING TOPIC IN TERMS OF SOMETIMES BIG BOXES AND BIG BOXES AREN’T NECESSARILY WAL-MARTS. THEY MIGHT BE DOLLAR GENERAL, SOMETHING OF THAT NATURE. THEY MOVE INTO TOWN AND MAYBE A MOM AND POP CLOSES. HAS THAT PRESENTED AN ISSUE FOR YOUR NEWSPAPER?>>NOT FOR OUR NEWSPAPER. I THINK WE ARE JUST FAR ENOUGH AWAY AND JUST CLOSE ENOUGH THAT WAL-MART IS NOT COMING IN. SO THAT’S BEEN PRETTY STABLE FOR US.>>HOW ABOUT YOU, ZACH?>>REALLY THE ONLY EFFECT WE HAVE HAD IS DOLLAR GENERAL THAT CAME IN, BUT IT DIDN’T NECESSARILY DO ANYTHING TO US. JUST LIKE FOR HER, WE ARE FAR ENOUGH AWAY, WHETHER IT BE PRINCETON TO PEORIA, TO A BIGGER STORE WHERE THEY ARE GOING TO GO TO THE LOCAL STORE, THE GROCERY STORE OR DOLLAR GENERAL THERE IS PRETTY COOPERATIVE WITH EVERYTHING. IT DOESN’T REALLY AFFECT US IN ANY WAY.>>JIM, OF COURSE, THE QUESTION IS IT IS MORE DIFFICULT USUALLY TO DEAL WITH A CORPORATE ENTITY AS OPPOSED TO THE LOCALLY OWNED SHOP?>>YES, BUT WE HAVE A NUMBER OF INSERTS FROM THE BIG BOX STORES, AND WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN MAKING IT CLEAR TO THEM THAT WE ARE — AN IMPORTANT CIRCULATION THAT THEY NEED AND THEY WOULDN’T GET OTHERWISE.>>HOW ABOUT YOU, JEFF?>>YOU KNOW, THERE IS IMPACTS. DOLLAR GENERAL CAME INTO ELMWOOD AND CERTAINLY HASN’T HELPED THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE. BUT THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE DOESN’T ADVERTISE WITH ME ANYWAY. AND I HATE TO BE MERCENARY IN THAT STANDPOINT, BUT IT COMES DOWN TO COMPETITION AT SOME POINT. SOMETIMES IT MAKES PEOPLE RAISE THEIR COMPETITION LEVEL A LITTLE BIT. IT CAN ACTUALLY ALMOST BE A GOOD THING IN THAT CASE.>>IS THERE GATEHOUSE MEDIA OWNS 198 DAILY — I AM SORRY, WEEKLIES. 198 WEEKLIES. THAT’S A LOT OF WEEKLIES IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT STATES. GATEHOUSE OWNS “PEORIA JOURNAL STAR” AMONGST OTHER NEWSPAPERS. IS THERE A CONCERN — ALL VIEWER INDEPENDENTLY OWNED, FAMILY OPERATED. IS THERE CONCERN THAT YOU MIGHT — THAT THE INDEPENDENT LOCAL WEEKLY PAPER MIGHT SUFFER BECAUSE THE BIG BOYS COME IN AND START BUYING UP THESE NEWSPAPERS?>>YOU MADE THE POINT BEFORE WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT, I THINK IT IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN TO US BECAUSE I THINK GATEHOUSE TAKES THESE PAPERS AND I HATE TO SPEAK ILL OF ONE OF MY FORMER EMPLOYERS, BUT I WILL, AND THEY BRING THEM DOWN TO A LOWER LEVEL. THERE IS NOT AS MUCH NEWS CONTENT. TO SOME DEGREE, IT ALMOST HELPS THE WEEKLY INDUSTRY THAT THE DAILIES HAVE SUFFERED TO SUCH A DEGREE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, NOW THE NEWS VALUE OF OUR PAPER IS GREATER THAN EVER BECAUSE THERE IS NOT AS MUCH COMPETITION IN THE DAILIES.>>WEEKLIES HAVE SEEN — I MEAN DAILIES HAVE SEEN THEIR CIRCULATION PLUMMET.>>AND STEP INTO THE WEEKLY.>>OURS HAS NOT.>>STEP INTO THE WEEKLY, DOESN’T WORK VERY WELL BECAUSE THEY BASICALLY STRIP THEM OUT SEEMS LIKE.>>>>RIGHT. OUR CIRCULATION HAS NOT PLUMMETED. IT IS STEADY.>>JUST LIKE JEFF HAD SAID WITH THEM STEPPING IN AND YOU ARE NOT GETTING THE NEWS CONTENT, THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO GO TO THE LOCAL COUNCIL MEETINGS. I KNOW GARY SMITH COMES TO THE COUNCIL MEETINGS IN HENRY, BUT THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO GO TO EVERY SINGLE MEETING AND EVERY SINGLE SPORTING EVENT. THEY CAN’T GET THE NEWS THAT THE PEOPLE IN THE TOWN WANT OR THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GET THE COURT NEWS THAT PEOPLE IN TOWN ARE GOING TO WANT TO SEE BECAUSE THAT’S A BIG TOPIC IN OUR NEWSPAPER. OH, DID YOU SEE WHO WAS IN THE COURT NEWS? THE GOSSIP AROUND THE SMALL TOWNS. THE BIG BOX NEWSPAPERS IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT, IS WHAT THEY ARE, THEN THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GET THE LOCAL NEWS LIKE WHAT THEY SHOULD AND WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WANT SO PEOPLE AREN’T GOING TO BUY IT.>>THE REFERENCE TO GARY SMITH, BY THE WAY, HE REPORTS FOR THE JOURNAL STAR. HE COVERS THE SUBURBS, IF YOU COULD SAY THE SUBURBS TO THE NORTH OF PEORIA. YOU WERE GOING TO ADD, JEFF.>>WELL, AND I THINK IT IS A VERY DIFFERENT THING. OUR OFFICE SITS IN ELMWOOD ON MAIN STREET. WHEN WE DO SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE DISAGREES WITH, THEY WALK RIGHT IN AND THEY LET US KNOW PRETTY CLEARLY THAT WE HAVEN’T DONE SOMETHING QUITE RIGHT. AND IN A LOT OF CASES, YOU KNOW, AS THESE BIGGER GROUPS MOVE INTO THE SMALL COMMUNITIES, YOU KNOW, THESE OFFICES, THEY ARE NOT AS RESPONSIVE TO THE PEOPLE. THEY MIGHT NOT EVEN BE PART OF THE COMMUNITY IN SOME CASES.>>YOU MENTIONED DOING SOMETHING WRONG. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO EDITORIALIZE, EVEN IF IT IS NOT ON A REGULAR BASIS, ARE YOU CAUTIOUS ABOUT HOW YOU EDITORIALIZE, JIM?>>I AM DIPLOMATIC. ON THE ONE HAND, ON THE OTHER HAND AND HERE IS HOW I COME OUT. I THINK IF PEOPLE READERS APPRECIATE THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO PRESENT THE SEVERAL SIDES OF AN ISSUE, AND THEN COME DOWN WITH YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE, THAT’S MUCH MORE ACCEPTABLE THAN THE RANTS YOU HEAR ON RADIO AND TELEVISION TODAY. AND SO WE DON’T EDITORIALIZE EVERY WEEK. WE SAVE OUR FIRE POWER FOR KEY ISSUES THAT ARE REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY AND THEN WE WILL HAVE OUR SAY.>>WENDY, YOU ARE SHAKING YOUR HEAD YES.>>NO, I AM JUST TOTALLY AGREEING WITH JIM. WE DON’T EDITORIALIZE EVERY WEEK. BUT WHEN THERE IS REALLY SOMETHING, USUALLY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WE NEED THAT DOESN’T FIT THE NEWS STORY, WE THINK READERS OUGHT TO KNOW, THESE ARE THE BEHIND THE SCENES THINGS.>>ZACH, DO YOU EDITORIALIZE?>>JUST NOT LIKE THEM EVERY WEEK. IF THERE IS SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR THE CITY COUNCIL. A COUPLE YEARS AGO, WE HAD AN ISSUE WITH A MAYOR THAT HAD COME DOWN TO WHERE THE MEETINGS YOU HAD CERTAIN THINGS SAID, BUT THEN THERE WAS OTHER STUFF BEHIND THE SCENES THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAD MENTIONED THAT WAS STILL NEWS WORTHY, NOT NECESSARILY NOT ABLE TO BE PUT IN THE PAPER THAT GOT INTO — GOT PUT INTO THE PAPER JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR IT. IT IS WHAT THEY DESERVE TO HEAR. IT IS THEIR ELECTED OFFICIAL FOR THE TOWN. SO THAT’S WHY THEY WANTED TO GET IT OUT THERE.>>A FINAL QUESTION TO YOU, WENDY, THE FUTURE OF WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS.>>I THINK IT LOOKS GOOD. I REALLY THINK IT LOOKS GOOD. WE ARE PROVIDING A SERVICE THAT NOBODY ELSE IS PROVIDING. OUR READERS ARE LOYAL, AND YOU KNOW, YOU TALKED ABOUT PEOPLE COMPLAINING WHEN YOU GET A COMPLAINT, THAT’S GOOD. IT IS GOOD BECAUSE IT MEANS THEY CARE.>>15 SECONDS. 15 SECONDS, JEFF.>>I STARTED THE BUSINESS IN 2013 WHEN EVERYBODY TOLD ME NEWSPAPERS WERE DYING, AND I DON’T HAVE MUCH H MONEY IN THE BANK, BUT I HAD MORE THAN 2013. I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE FEW YOUR IT. I DO THINK WE PROVIDE A SERVICE THAT IS LACKING IN A LOT OF CASES.>>WITH THAT, WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME. TELEVISION HAS LIMITED TIME. NEWSPAPERS DON’T. SO PICK UP YOUR WEEKLY NEWSPAPER. JIM NOWLAN OF THE “STARK COUNTY NEWS”, AND WENDY MARTIN OF THE “MASON DEMOCRAT” AND “FULTON DEMOCRAT.” THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING ON AT ISSUE.” AND JEFF LAMPE OF “THE WEEKLY POST” AND “HENRY NEWS REPUBLICAN” ZACH ZIEGLER, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT. WE APPRECIATE YOUR CONVERSATION CONTINUING IN YOUR OWN HOME ABOUT MAYBE YOU SHOULD PICK UP A 50-CENT “HENRY NEWS REPUBLICAN.” IT WON’T BREAK THE BANK AS HE SAID. AND WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME HERE ON “AT ISSUE” [MUSIC]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *