Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Nobody goes into community newspapers to get rich. They do it because they believe in the importance of journalism. They do it because they love their community. They do it because they believe the people of that community deserve to have access to information about what is going on in their community. Money is not their motivating factor.
At the same time, money is constantly on the mind of anyone who runs a newspaper. It’s a business, and it isn’t a cheap one. The costs of printing, mailing, and distributing to retail outlets all add up.
The primary reason to run a newspaper is to report the news, but the lifeblood of the newspaper isn’t the news – much to the chagrin of reporters and editors everywhere and down through the ages – the lifeblood of the newspaper is advertisement and circulation. Without those, your paper will cease to exist. Readers buy your papers. But they also represent potential customers to advertisers. So sales aren’t just about the money you make from selling that individual paper. They also increase the number of people advertisers can reach, and the amount they are willing to pay to reach them.
It’s all pretty obvious, and simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s something newspapers have always struggled with, even before free online news sources added to the competition mix.
It’s interesting to look back and see how bluntly the editors of the Carter County Herald approached both their efforts to win advertisers (though they do thinly veil that in the form of a “news story”) and to win new subscribers.
Maybe we should borrow a page from W.F. Fultz’s book and start asking you to encourage your friends to subscribe too!
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