The last hand Newspapers on the rebound
Spent several days last week attending the 134th Colorado Press Association Convention. In the newspaper hay days, we held the event at the Brown Palace, now we’ve moved to LoDo and The Westin. maybe a sign of the times?
There is still a newspaper in almost every town on record in Colorado. Ranging from Lake City beyond Gunnison to The Julesburg Advocate in the corner of northeast Colorado. We had Craig far northwest, Cortez further southwest, and, of course, a paper in Lamar in the southeast; Fruita, Palisade and Grand Junction from fertile Mesa County. Publishers and their staff made it to big city of Denver to see what the city folks are up to. Meanwhile, city folks are finding out what is going on out in the country.
Judges from another state select award-winning newspapers and we have our own Academy Awards luncheon on Saturday. Proud to report that the paper that you’re reading now was an award winner.
The awards are hard to win, coveted by those who receive them, and end up in long-term resumes as a prized honor and job reference.
Not surprising is that the papers that win most of the awards are successful in their respective communities. If you can’t win in your hometown, how do you win statewide? Might be a logical question to ask?
Newspapers across America have been the focus of much discussion during the past decade. The larger Denver Post papers seem to have had the greatest challenge, especially with ownership issues. Those who purchased the large newspapers, for once big profits saw the bubble burst in 2008 with the demise of the value of the newspaper stock in the stock market meltdown. The newspaper corporations suffered from loss of auto and real estate markets. Craigslist destroyed much of the daily newspaper classified ad business. Times were tough.
I’m happy to report that the newspaper is still standing, and there are over 15,000 weekly and small daily newspapers in America doing fine. We’re all engaged in staying up with technology and figuring out how to deliver our newspapers on newsprint and glass top Ipads or Kindles.
The only real change in this business is how we deliver the products. We still need to sell those ads, subscriptions, gather news, write columns and cover news sources. We still need to write news stories, answer phones and serve our customers the same way that we have for at least the 134 years that we’ve been having newspaper gatherings.
The business plans on many newspapers also went awry when they placed the paper on the Internet for free newspaper consumption. Most newspaper income is derived from selling advertising, but subscription income is very important. Just mailing and delivering a newspaper is expensive these days, so all of the free news just added to the troubled finances.
We’re starting to figure out how to allow new readers to subscribe just to the electronic version or have it included with a standard subscription.
Most of our readers still prefer to have a newspaper in hand where it can rest on the couch or end table for several days until fully read by all the family members. We know that some of the papers even get passed around now and then. Far away readers in other states benefit the most from an Internet newspaper web page, suffering from the slower postal delivery service.
It’s hard to clip a story, or put an Internet story in the family scrapbook as well. The world is full of treasured yellowing newspaper stories about weddings, births, obituaries, and major family and community events. Remember those school day events saved for reprint at class reunions. Print still is for the ages!
Lastly, Samantha Johnston, the new Colorado Press Executive Director, had a newspaper research expert Gordon Borrell give a program on “The Future Of Newspapers.” His presentation showed considerable solid research on the changes in media. Presently, the Internet is giving way to mobile communication. Really facing a grim future are phone company yellow pages and direct mail, according to Borrell.
He concluded that newspapers hit the bottom and are now on the way back up and had facts to prove his forecasts.
For sure we live in a time where we’re being inundated by information and we do our best to sort through weekly news that we feel is important and send to our subscribers. You don’t have to surf the net, we do it for you in a weekly summary.
It was very good to see many old friends from around the state last week, dine with newspaper colleagues, and hear the latest gossip about our industry. Enthusiasm abounded!