Worth Considering:  “. . . . .”

A sampling of memorable quotes and insights from Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability.

Chapter One

“It is hard to overstate the vitally important role that a strong newspaper can play in improving the quality of life for residents of the communities they serve. A good editor can see the big picture better than just about anyone else in the community – tying together the reality of the present with the possibility of the future.”

“What exactly is a community newspaper? According to the traditional definition, it is a newspaper with less than 15,000 circulation. But in the digital age, that definition is rapidly becoming antiquated and useless, as more and more readers get their news from digital sources.  . . . What is important is not the size of paper’s print circulation but, rather, the mission of the paper.”

“While the need for community papers (or online-only versions) is greater than ever, the business model is harder than ever. The way forward will probably have to involve finding new and innovative models for making money on public-interest journalism.”

Chapter Two

“The business model that has supported and funded good journalism in communities large and small is frayed and, in many cases, in tatters.”

“No longer de facto monopolies, community newspapers everywhere have emerged from a ‘stodgy’ period to find themselves facing new and relentless interlopers. In other words, the industry is not in a cycle from which it will emerge relatively unchanged. Rather, it is in a cyclone. There is a new reality – a ‘new normal’ – for the newspaper industry.”

Chapter Three

“From the experience of other industries . . .  we know that it is possible to chart a course that leads to rebirth and renewal.  But doing so involves more than a mere adjustment to the current strategy; it involves a whole new way of thinking and acting."

“I am constantly shifting and measuring and maneuvering. To stay on top of things, you have to constantly ask, ‘What drives business?’ I try to eliminate costs that don’t drive business and follow the money.”

Chapter Four

“Leadership is about connecting a community’s history with the present reality and then adapting so that a community can move into the future successfully.”

“I tell my former colleagues that it’s a lot easier to lay out a strategy on a PowerPoint slide than it is to do it in real life. I vastly underestimated the amount of cultural work that would be needed to turn around a company. I now believe that a good strategy is, at best, only 49 percent of the solution.”

Chapter Five

“In the digital era, the cost of distributing a story – or an entire newspaper – over the Internet is minuscule. This puts a real premium on creating unique content that differentiates a community newspaper, setting it apart from competitors so it can attract a loyal audience, and, in turn, charge both readers and advertisers more.”

“Calculating exactly when and how much to cut back production of the print edition requires Solomon-like wisdom stripped of emotional attachment since, literally and symbolically, the identity of most community newspapers is tied to the physical entity and not the more ephemeral digital one.”

Chapter Six

“Simply focusing on the number of ‘page hits’ or ‘unique visitors’ to a website does not ensure that a newspaper is actually building a vibrant community of readers online. Nor does it necessarily allow a newspaper to play to its journalistic strengths of providing unique content that can engage readers at first glance and then keep them coming back for more.”

“Research over the last two decades has determined that there is a strong correlation between the loyalty of customers and the future profitability of a company.”

“As they consider how to pursue new revenue opportunities in a digital world, newspapers need to view the creation of [these] communities built around either ‘affinities, affiliations, or affections’ as an opportunity to enhance loyalty with both readers and advertisers.”

Chapter Seven

 “A lot is riding on how newspapers navigate this period of transition between the print-only world of yesterday and the multiplatform world of today – not the least of which is the ability of the news department to have the funds necessary to produce quality local journalism.”

“Most community newspapers face two significant threats to their current advertising base.  In addition to rapidly declining print volume, they must also content with depressed digital advertising rates.”

“By embracing digital and positioning community newspapers as cross-platform mediums – instead of print-only ones – advertising departments have a unique moment in time to carve out a competitive advantage for their papers in the local market.”

Chapter Eight

“Going forward, what is an achievable and sustainable profit margin? That is the real question all of us are dealing with.”

“Good newspapers serve both readers and advertisers well. Success with one group does not guarantee success with the other.”

“The evolving newspaper ecosystem of the twenty-first century looks to be much more complex and interdependent than it has been in the past.”

Chapter Nine

“Our journeys are often punctuated by insights or epiphanies that prompt us to change course and explore a route not previously envisioned. Sometimes, the terrain becomes so difficult we are forced to detour. Other times, we gradually realize that the path we set out on is not the one that will get us to the destination we’d hoped.”

“The Internet provides newspaper editors with both a challenge – of cutting through the noise and clutter – and an opportunity. The strong newspaper will focus on using the new digital tools that the Internet has unleashed, the various applications and mobile access, to nurture an expansive notion of community.”

“Economists use the term ‘creative destruction’ to describe what’s been happening to newspapers. Those two words, placed together, embody the threat and opportunity.”

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