Once again, the calendar has come full circle as we enter into the month of February. For us here at the Independent, February is an exciting month of new beginnings. Four years ago, in 2016, we began the newspaper and our little publishing company.
At the time, I was not necessarily wanting to start my own newspaper as I was plenty busy being the principal at Eads High School. However, as I neared retirement, I recognized that when the old newspaper made the statement in late 2015 that they would no longer be printing the paper and would instead go to digital format I felt it was time to make a move to save the tradition of providing an actual printed newspaper for our communities. I felt our towns would die away if we weren’t fed the news and information we need in order to continue to grow and prosper.
When the old Press stopped printing, it was a business move as they saw how expensive print had become. Distribution is not cheap, and it takes time, labor, and money. Readers had begun to change too as the younger ones got their news on their social media feeds and didn’t even realize there was a newspaper that had actually been printed in the community for more than 100 years. The way people were getting their news was changing and thus the original newspaper hung up their printing aprons and went solely digital on their website.
National statistics backed their decision. They clearly indicate that the newspaper printing business is quickly becoming extinct. However, as true as that is for the huge conglomerates that are buying up all the large to medium-sized newspapers, there has recently arisen an interesting side bar to that fact:
LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ARE EXPERIENCING GROWTH because they provide unique news that is about the communities and the region where they are located. Independent, local newspapers are able to hang in there because they maintain the support of the community. The best communities WANT to be informed --- and therefore they support their local newspaper.
Consider this, we pay subscriptions for our music, accounting programs, recipes, movie watching, and a hundred other services that provide us the information we are seeking. People in small towns must consider subscribing for their local news. It’s where they can actually read about their children, their friends, the people they know and the programs they enjoy. It gives them the legal information they require to make good economical decisions. It provides their history stories. It updates them on what is happening with the big ideas like a new railroad, wind towers coming in, or new businesses emerging. Finally, it provides the local employment information and the schedules for the local events. It’s full of unique information geared toward the people who live and love in the community. It’s unique to only us.
That is why we hope as we continue into our fifth year that everyone in the community will consider buying a subscription to the Independent. Not only do we cover the main stories, we go seek out interesting profiles, and we cover a huge swath of schools in the sports section. And many of our stories have been reprinted in larger newspapers and magazines. We’ve even been discussed in nationally recognized forums. Our readers get their money’s worth. And the readers who subscribe are the ones who are able to make strong decisions based on information. So, if you are a subscriber, pat yourself on the back because you are getting smart and pertinent news for less than $1 per week.
So, with February upon us, Priscilla Waggoner, our extremely talented news writer and editor is looking at a number of exceptional story ideas to explore and write about this year. Billy Brandt, our designer who works from afar, continues to create new styles and formats for us. John Contreras and I are discussing new and unique ways to highlight the unbelievable athletic talent we have in our region. And Cindy McLoud, Kayla Murdock, and Raina Lynch continue to help us with our advertising, distribution, website and social media.
We’re also looking to grow in 2020. We will be publishing the annual Graduation magazine, the Fair & Rodeo guide and the Christmas magazine. In addition, we are extending our marketing efforts in order to help our advertisers and local businesses find ways to promote themselves better. We have some great people in key positions ready to assist us in advancing these new marketing services.
But, above all, we are all focused on the same mission. We love the communities in this region, and we believe a newspaper such as ours can start, maintain, and drive a positive conversation toward growth and prosperity. We all count, and with your help, we will continue to do our part to make sure you are a part of the conversation of the community.
Here’s to February and a new year of prosperity for all of us.