An installment of The New Paper

Yes, you can publish a newspaper and make a good living doing it…

It’s not news that newspapers have had difficulties for some time now getting readers, and the deficit of readers has made it difficult for many advertisers to justify buying space for their ads in the paper. Decreasing revenues, in turn, makes it difficult for publishers to find the money to pay reporters, reducing even further the value of the paper to readers. It’s a vicious circle.

The primary purpose of the overwatch we’ve looked at in the past few installments is to provide a reason for everyone in the community your paper serves to read your paper regularly and turn…

An installment of The New Paper

Your community is waiting for you to give them a reason to show up and pay attention. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In previous installments I’ve talked about the ‘overwatch’ as the key to success for a local newspaper, showing the entire community that it is keeping an eye on everything important to everyone. In early 2019 the Washington Post adopted the motto, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Well, the overwatch turns the local newspaper into a field of floodlights, compared to the handful of flashlights pointed at oddities as per the traditional reporting in conventional newspapers. …

When I was a kid, long ago, people read the local newspaper. And by ‘people,’ I mean everyone. Something on the order of every household in the nation read the local paper, even people who didn’t read the paper themselves were talking over local news with people who did.

But that was long ago, and newspaper circulation has faded to only a tiny portion of the community. You can look up the numbers for yourself: daily circulation of local newspapers is only a small fraction of the number of households. …

An installment of The New Paper

In order for your newspaper to have a thriving circulation and healthy balance sheets, you need to provide your readers essential information on all the things of importance in their lives. We have discussed this in prior installments, and we will do so in great depth and detail in the future. But there are other aspects to the service you provide to your community, about the attitude you bring to it and the spirit your readers see in your work, things that show up in what you cover and how you present stories. …

An installment of The New Paper

So, in order to serve your community, build a thriving circulation and have financial success, you need to keep an eye on all the things important to the lives of the people in your area — and make sure the people know you’re doing it, doing it right and doing it well.

Someone needs to keep an eye on everything people depend on to make sure it’s in working order, as well as to identify problems before they decay into a disaster. Newspapers are best suited to doing this work for the communities they serve. (Image: Tech. Sgt. Lawrence, a USAF quality assurance inspector. U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown)

For all the people in your community to have this trust in you, you need to take a step back and think carefully about exactly what you’re going to keep an eye on, how you’re going to assemble and report information, and how you’re going to get paid…

An installment of The New Paper

The numbers are really in-your-face clear: by a large majority, people do not care enough about what is in their local newspaper to bother to buy it. We need to turn that completely around, because newspapers are the to the community what your eyes and ears, mind and mouth are to your body, essential to know what’s going on in the world around you, to make sense of it all and decide what to do about it.

So, are all the pieces here? Do you care? Should you? What will the picture look like if you only use the ones you like and leave the rest in the box? Image:

In order to fill its role successfully, people need to know that their newspaper is keeping an eye on all the important things…

An installment of The New Paper

The decades-long decline in newspaper circulation — from very few people not reading or discussing the daily local newspaper in the 1950’s and 60’s, to only a small fraction of the people bothering to read a paper at all — is, on the one hand, pretty depressing. People are not buying what newspapers are selling. That’s an undeniable fact.

People need information to know what they need to do and figure out exactly how they’re going to do it. Tuskegee Airmen, front row, left to right: unidentified airman; Jimmie D. Wheeler (with goggles); Emile G. Clifton (cloth cap) San Francisco, CA, Class 44-B. Standing left to right: Ronald W. Reeves (cloth cap) Washington, DC, Class 44-G; Hiram Mann (leather cap); Joseph L. “Joe” Chineworth (wheel cap) Memphis, TN, Class 44-E; Elwood T. Driver? Los Angeles, CA, Class 44-A; Edward “Ed” Thomas (partial view); Woodrow W. Crockett (wheel cap); at Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945. Library of Congress, Wikipedia.

On the other hand, it presents an enormous opportunity to any newspaper that figures out what people are willing to pay for. And that is what we need to work out.

You need to keep in mind that lots of really…

An installment of The New Paper

Strange at it may seem, not a lot of people bother reading or watching the news. When I was a little kid, newspapers sold 60,000,000 copies a day to a nation of 180,000,000 people. That’s one paper for every three people. Today, the roughly 330,000,000 people in the United States buy about 20,000,000 papers daily. So, the population has nearly doubled and newspaper circulation has shrunk by two-thirds. …

The story was big on all the news programs as soon as the Supreme Court released its opinion: states can collect sales tax from online purchases! And like usual with Supreme Court decisions, the decision was reduced to a question of winners (brick-and-mortar stores) and losers (web-based stores).

But there is more to what the Court decided than who won or lost as a result of the decision, and there is even more to the decision than what the Court itself considered.

The case was South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc., and the big news was that a majority of the…

So, I understand you’ve decided Amazon needs to build a new headquarters complex, somewhere, which will eventually be the workspace for some 50,000 new staff. The idea certainly had a happy reception, with cities all over the country offering sites up — along with property tax breaks, infrastructure support and all kinds of incentives. After all, for most cities, the idea of adding tens of thousands of new, fairly high-pay jobs into the local economy has enormous attractiveness!

But is this HQ2 idea really a good idea for Amazon?

Source: Chicago Tribune

Putting so much of the company’s talent in one location exposes…


Learned in the Army to provide information that is thorough, accurate, meaningful and useful — and what happens when you don’t.

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