We do a great job or promoting everyone…except ourselves
Dan Thalmann at the neighboring Washington County News is a darned good newspaper publisher. And he regularly puts out one of the best printed products in the state of Kansas and is probably my best friend in the newspaper business.
In reading his paper last week I learned something from him: that while we as an industry do a great job of promoting and supporting our respective communities and the people who reside therein, we generally do a poor job of promoting ourselves. I know that is the case here at the Telescope.
The main message in Dan’s paper last week was that (to paraphrase) if you want the newspaper to continue to report, inform, entertain, promote, evoke thought and generally band a community together, the newspaper needs support from those we serve. Subscribers and advertisers are the lifeblood of any newspaper.
Dan had an alternative front page last week that was largely blank. On it were the words, “this is what you’d get on the front page without local reporters,” along with an editorial to support local journalism.
Newspapers are sort of like electric lights in your home or office. Everyone takes them for granted that they will always be there… until they’re not. It is a very common misconception that a newspaper is not a business. A lot of folks think the newspaper is a community service.
And while the newspaper does exist to serve their community and region, the truth is a newspaper is just like any other business on Main Street. They have to keep the lights on, pay the bills, the taxes, their employees, the bank and on and on. We, just like any other business, turn our dollars over within our own community many times over.
Also like any other business we have to have customers, readers and advertisers. Over the years the Telescope has been somewhat of an enigma in the newspaper world. While readers and circulation has declined in the industry, we continue to remain strong, being one of the largest non-daily newspapers in the state. But we are not without mounting pressures. Things like increased operating costs, a decreasing population and a smaller business district for us to serve have us concerned.
It is always our goal to put out the best product that the community supports. People like the Telescope, people read the Telescope and are interested in what we have to say. But just like any other business we need to promote ourselves. We need to remind people just what an important role we fill.
We will try to do better in that regard. But we also need your help. Stay loyal and keep reading. We need each and every subscriber and advertiser.