Newspapers are members of the Community


John Oliver is just one of the funniest people on television now. I have slapped my knee many times during his “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” show on HBO, and a segment about journalism had me both sad and laughing at the same time.

I have said many times that the plight of large, daily newspapers isn’t comparable to what we do at small, community newspapers. Their overhead is much larger, but more importantly, their owners are usually investment groups looking to make large sums of money instead of serving their community.

We little guys don’t have those problems, because as long as we serve our community, our community usually serves us back.

Oliver took 20 minutes to discuss the issues facing journalism, especially in metro areas, in today’s landscape of digital-first media (his take on this made me nearly spit my coffee).

While Oliver accurately described what is happening in many metro papers owned by investment groups, he hit on something far more important, in my opinion, and that is the fact that you have to pay for good journalism.

Mid-way through his bit, he called out viewers and said that largely people aren’t willing to pay for good journalism even if they do need it. Most of that blame can be laid at the doorsteps of those who decided giving our content away for free was a good idea about 20-some years ago, but that toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube, can it?

Truth is, we as an industry have to do a better job educating and communicating with our communities about why what we do is important and is worth paying for.

We aren’t seeing the advertising fall that Oliver showed in his segment, but we also aren’t giving our product away online, either, so the revenue online isn’t really there, either, which is fine by us.

Personally, we are happy to give away two percent of revenue growth in digital if it means not cutting our legs off in print, so our business plan isn’t going to change anytime soon.

There is a balance coming for our industry as a whole. I believe that whole heartedly. We are continuing to invest in our products and provide good journalism for our communities, and we believe that those efforts will be recognized and paid for because we keep seeing that every day.

My biggest note from Oliver’s segment remains this, though: your community only gets the journalism it will pay for, but with that comes a responsibility by news organizations to do an exceptionable job for those readers.

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August 2, 2016  JoeyYoung

I understand why publishers all over the country are scared to death about ad blocking software and what it is doing to their bottom lines. I am also completely unconcerned, personally.

After 20 years of doing everything we could as an industry to build a presence online and sell advertising around content we gave away, it must be scary to hear that folks don’t want the annoying Flash ads that pop up randomly, the auto-play video ads, and the sort to clutter their already ADD filtered eyes while surfing the Internet. Honestly, I hate those things and most people do… including the ones selling them.

Study after study was already hurting what publishers could sell ads for online with CPM prices dropping regularly. Slowly, people were picking up on terms like “banner blindness,” “click bait,” and “click bots” and were adjusting how they were spending their dollars online anyway, but the advent of ad blocking software is quickening the pace of those dollars shifting, and publishers are panicking.

I just don’t understand why.

As an industry, most newspapers aren’t making more than five percent of their overall revenue selling digital ads. Why are we freaking out about something that we have thrown so many resources toward and still are only making, if we are lucky, five percent of overall revenue?

I see the advancement of ad blocking software as something that should be celebrated by publishers who still print something on paper. The fact is, we are starting to gain an advantage in the eyes of the advertiser again.

We still have loyal readers in print and online. We still have ad space that works and has been proven to. So instead of lamenting the loss of digital dollars, go out and sell more print ads with these studies and leverage your content online to make money there (more on that later).

Present to your local companies that research shows about 1/3 of the overall clicks on the Internet come from bots. Show them that ad blocking software is keeping their message from being heard online. Then show them that there is no such technology for your print product and that their message will be heard loud and clear by real people who pay for your paper and look forward to it.

Technology has disrupted all forms of advertising from television to radio to print. The difference between us and them is that we still have something you can’t get anywhere else: original content about one’s community.

That content is worth something, and we can sell it digitally (without ads) or in print and people will buy it.

Television has to worry about Netflix, Hulu, and the likes while millions are cutting the cord from cable. Radio has their own problems with Pandora and programs like it which take the music they play and make it more accessible. I have a friend in radio who is doing a great job navigating those waters with his own original content, but I feel his company is in the minority. Those industries are scrambling just like we are to find their way in the Internet era, but in many cases, they are left with fewer possibilities because of a lack of original content, something we aren’t lacking in at all.

Am I advocating a throw it away strategy with digital? Of course not, but I do think we need to start paying attention to what readers actually care about and treat digital like its own product and not a digital, carbon copy of our print editions.

Our strategy online, with our paid papers, has been simple thus far. A subscription service (“hard paywall” for those who like that term) that allows full-access to print, digital, and other perks with a subscription to our content.

We sell our advertising in print because it works and sell some digital to folks who want it, but it is almost always a supplement to what they are already doing in print.

This strategy, we believe, is built for the future and is fortified around what we do well, which is create great, original content people want to read. As far as I know, no one is planning on blocking that anytime soon.


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Invest in Your Core: Make Your Print Product Look Great

Changing The Newspaper Game One Day At A Time

July 22 , 2 0 1 6 reposted from May 26, 2016

Invest in your core: Make your print product look great – Newspaper Disruptor Page 1 of 5… 7/22/2016

It is time for us to start designing our print products the way readers want to see them. Media “experts” all over the world will tell you to ignore your print product or not invest much into it because the internet is going to take over soon anyway. Well, after 20-years of the newspaper industry still making a damn fine living (some better than others) off their print products I think the end is still far away. That leads me to think that we should be re-investing in our print products and the first thing most people need to do is look at their design and update it.

When traveling around the mid-west I rarely see newspapers that I think are visually appealing and prompt me to pick up off the rack. We have to start designing every single issue of our papers like we have to sell every copy off the rack. Period. That means starting with great, not good, art above the fold, and make it big. We need catchy headlines,
and a flag that doesn’t look like it was made sometime in the early 1920’s. If your layout person isn’t involved in budget meetings then you are doing it wrong. Get them involved from the start and they can help with visuals throughout.

When we took over The Clarion, our first paper, we stayed up until 6 a.m. ripping the paper apart and putting it back together again with a brand new design right out of the gate. We didn’t want our paper to look anything like the old paper. New owners equaled new life and new design. A lot of people thought we were crazy and that we would alienate our core readers and too much change too fast would be a problem. We were just too dumb to listen I am sure they left thinking. By the time our paper came out that first
week we got tons of compliments though. People were telling us on the street as we delivered that our little weekly paper looked like a “real newspaper” and “very professional.” Our readers wanted something they could be proud of, that was easy to read, and visually appealing and that is just what we gave them.

When our company merged with Kansas Publishing Ventures, one of the first things we did was break “The Buyer’s Edge of South Central Kansas” up. We made it “The Edge” and started going with big bold art on the cover and a modular design inside.

Invest in your core: Make your print product look great – Newspaper Disruptor Page 2 of 5… 7/22/2016

The Edge is a shopper, but we were getting a lot of compliments on the new layout and advertisers and readers responded. There are few dailies, much less weeklies, that I feel look as good as our papers look week in and week out. Yes, even our shopper.
I am not some amazing designer or employ the worlds best either. We just invest some time in it, talk about it, and train staff to care about artwork whether that mean a great photo or an infographic, map, or a mugshot. Readers like art. Writers, the majority of
people running weekly and small daily newspapers, seem to hate it. I am not sure
if it is their ego, laziness, or ignorance, but most publishers and editors don’t seem to
get it. We will cut a few paragraphs out of a story to make sure we can get artwork on a
jump page. Our writers grumble occasionally, but they know that most of our readers will appreciate it, which means more of our readers will actually read their story instead of seeing how long it is and skipping past with the thought of not having the time.
I am also not one of these people who will tell companies they have to go out and buy Adobe or the latest greatest product to make their papers look nice either. We use Photoshop and Quark Express (yes, we do and make no apologies about it) and have no problem.

I know of folks that use freeware design software like Gimp and Scribus to design their products without any trouble and none of the investment. There is no excuse. Sure, those free programs don’t have some of the bells and whistles, but they won’t keep you from making that two-column photo into a four column photo and toning that photo correctly.
The future of media, at least the immediate future, is still in print for newspapers not named the New York Times or Washington Post (I am willing to bet they make a good bit of cash off print too through). Our print papers still matter and are used by our communities. If they aren’t, you have a far larger problem then just a redesign, but that would be a good start.

Invest in your core: Make your print product look great – Newspaper Disruptor Page 3 of 5… 7/22/2016

If the future is print, then the future should look pretty and have lots of great art because that is what readers who buy print want. Sell each one like you have to sell it off the rack, as that will help with making it look gorgeous, and finally, don’t just say it’s too expensive to make it look nice. It’s not, and anyone who tells you your company has to upgrade to all the latest stuff is just selling you a product and shouldn’t you be able to see that? Kansas Publishing Ventures isn’t home of the only good designers and we certainly aren’t the most
talented people in the industry either, yet our papers look amazing, and yours can too with just a little effort.

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Newspapers & Free Community Newspapers

Will the Internet kill your free community paper? Did instant coffee kill coffee? New technologies change many things. But not everything. You may tweet, blog, surf, shop, or search online but you continue to read your free community paper. You just proved it. Readership of free community papers is now higher than paid daily papers, and continues to grow. Rather than being replaced by “instant” media, your local free community paper has become an important part of our neighborhood. The reason, which sometimes is not heard because of all the noise about the Internet, is pretty obvious: your free community paper does what the Internet doesn’t. We promote connections at a local level. Free papers join readers and advertisers in ways digital media don’t. In fact, the local content and power of your free paper makes advertising even more effective. We are the number one medium for driving purchases. That’s important in every product category. Including coffee.

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Community Newspapers

Community newspapers, free and subscription, like the one you’re reading;
today are THRIVING. In fact, community publications have been able to maintain
nearly 99% of their readership since the turn of the millennium. We love the neighborhoods and communities we serve and we couldn’t do it without your support. So keep reading. Buy local. Remember, more people are employed by small business than the large corporations. Thank you!

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Newspapers are still here and still making money

Newspapers are still here and still making money
By Caroline Little, NAA
The sky is always falling and newspapers are always dying.
For more than a decade, that has been a common and constant refrain. While working at, the Guardian US, and now, the Newspaper Association of America, I have been asked frequently about the state of the industry as people search for the worst.
Though newspaper media is enjoying the largest audiences ever as well as continuing to play a unique and critical role in our communities, there is one fact that always tends to be obscured or outright ignored – newspapers are still making money and newspapers remain a good investment.
A year ago at this time, John Henry and Jeff Bezos made high-profile acquisitions of The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, respectively, which confirmed that newspapers are viable investment options with the ability to grow. Earlier this month, The Washington Post announced record web traffic for July as well as hiring more than 60 people in the first seven months of the year.
A company hiring 60 people in seven months sounds like a healthy one to me.  Read more. 

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Florida Sun Printing Goes to Georgia

Florida Sun Printing is located in Callahan, Florida near the Georgia State line. We have been printing newspapers for client throughout Georgia and Florida since 1963. This week (June 5-7) we head to the Georgia Press Association meeting in Jekyll Island, GA. We will have lots of printed samples. Hope to see you there.

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Jacksonville, FL printer adds to color capacity

Jacksonville, FL printer adds to color capacity

Florida Sun Printing in Callahan, FL, will ramp up a new Quad-Stack 4-over-4 color-printing unit from WebPress, LLC at the end of January, as well as a new UV light tower from Prime UV. The equipment will be used in tandem to allow the printer to enter new markets by courting customers that require coated stocks.

“The additional unit and the UV tower for coated stocks will enable us to wrap broadsheets, tabloids and magazines with coated covers; produce magazines and single coated sheets for insertion and direct mail pieces,” General Manager Bill Guthrie said.

The Quad-Stack/UV system is configured with a folder on one side and a sheeter on the other, allowing flexibility for newspaper, magazine and high-quality, single-sheet production. The Quad-Stack is the fourth for the printer. Florida Sun’s existing units provide cold set web capacity. “The Quad-Stacked technology used by WebPress places the color units stacked tightly together on top of each other to help control fanout and provide tight registration,” Guthrie said. “So even on uncoated stocks, they produce near sheetfed quality.”

Fits niche

Besides providing Florida Sun expanded color capacity for current clients (community newspapers, associations, agencies, and small businesses ) the new Quad-Stack/UV system fits into a specific niche. “The advantage of the UV is that it fits a niche underneath the heatset business,” he said. “Where heatset wants longer press runs, the UV combo is well suited for press runs from 1,000 up to 120,000 impressions.” Guthrie said, diversification was necessary to help its customer base meet the need to grow readership with new products — a trend, that printers are seeing take root across the country and one Florida Sun wants to bring to publishers in the Southeast. “In the Midwest, West and Canada, we see publications putting glossy covers on their products to give a different look and a new opportunity for advertisers. We want to offer something different than what is being currently offered for the communities we serve — and to make it available at an affordable price.”



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Merchant Circulars still tops advertising results

Merchant circulars still effective form of advertising, both direct mail and inserted in your local paper.

Recent research backs up the fact that consumers prefer printed circulars over other types of advertising.  With Holiday Shopping in full swing, the following articles give reassurance that those bulk shopping ads will continue to be a source of revenue.


Aug. 6, 2013 – According to data analysis from CPG solutions and services provider Information Resources, Inc.’s (IRI) Q2 2013 MarketPulse survey, print sources remain an important part of the American consumer’s grocery shopping planning and purchasing experience.

To compare prices prior to the trip to the store, two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents rely on retailers’ weekly grocery circulars to compare prices prior versus 26% who compare prices using retailer websites.   see source:

A similar study:

When asked which ways they prefer to receive back-to-school promotions, 46.3% of a large panel of mobile users said “print ads,” which led direct mail from the store or brand (41.3%), email from the store or brand (41.1%), brand or store Web site (28.4%), deal Web sites (26.1%) and was far ahead of social media (21.2%).  see source:

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Newspaper dollars still tops in local media

By Wayne Friedman, MediaDailyNews
Local small and medium-sized businesses are “optimistic” about local media growth in the near term. Still, many are cautious.
When it comes to where local media dollars are spent, the survey says newspapers are still tops – commanding a 22% share of local ad dollars, followed by digital at 19%; other local print publications with 12%; direct mail at 9%; radio with 8%; and outdoor (out of home) at 3%.
Local broadcast stations and local cable systems each command a 3% share of local and medium-sized business media budgets.
A new survey from Borrell Associates says 47% expect to spend “about the same” in advertising/marketing in 2013 versus 2012; with 27% looking to spend more and 19% spending less.

Still, Borrell research on actual media spending has estimated there will be a 10.7% rise in advertising/media spending for these small- and medium-sized businesses to an average of $88,300 a year.


Overall, 64% of respondents say they are “very” or “somewhat” optimistic about near-term improvement of the local economy.


Nearly 45% of respondents said their digital spending is increasing, while about 35% said it remains the same. While mobile media spending will be important, only 20% of local and small businesses are currently active with mobile advertising.


Almost 40% of respondents say their media budgets are placed on three to five local media outlets.


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