From: Editor & Publisher Virginia Press Association
By: Sharon Knolle
Small, community newspapers across the country are not just surviving, but-in many cases-actually thriving. Many of them have managed to dodge the layoffs and downsizing that larger papers have had to face.
Chip Hutcheson, president of the National Newspaper Association (which represents more than 2,100 community newspaper companies), said, “You don’t hear about community papers going out of business. It’s not the doom and gloom that major market papers face. At a recent press association meeting, I met several people who say they started a (small) paper two or three years ago. I started one in 2008. Weekly and small dailies are faring better than our major counterparts.”
Despite dire predictions that print is dead, it’s still the backbone of many community dailies and weeklies nationwide.
“Print is our lifeblood,” said Billy Coleburn, editor of the weekly Courier-Record in Blackstone, Va. The paper’s circulation is 6,100, more than twice the town’s population of 3,000. “For seven full-time employees, we rock ‘n’ roll down here,” he said.
In Petoskey, Mich., Jeremy McBain, executive editor of the Petoskey News-Review (circulation 9,108), also said print was going well for them. “We haven’t seen erosion in print that other larger papers like the Detroit Free Press and Grand Rapids Press have.” He credits part of that to his paper’s “hyperlocalized” content.
Michael Messerly, publisher of Batavia Newspapers Corp., which puts together The Daily News in Batavia, N.Y. (circulation 10,000) said, “Our ROP revenue was up 30.1 percent over the previous year, without raising rates. Through the first quarter of this year, we’re again outpacing last year by more than 30 percent. So, yeah, print is still doing well for us.”
At the Inter-Mountain in Elkins, W.Va., publisher and general manager Heather Goodwin Henline, shared, “I think if you ask any newspaper, print still remains the lion’s share of revenue.”