A publication of the World Editors Forum


Wed - 24.01.2018

US: print-only local paper's success

US: print-only local paper's success

As newspapers struggle to make websites profitable and some abandon their print products and move online-only, one US paper has successfully adopted a very different approach: don't put anything online.

TriCityNews publisher and owner Dan Jacobson put it simply: "I don't understand how putting content on the Web would do anything but help destroy our paper," as giving away content would presumably mean that people would have no need to buy the print copy.

And his theory seems to be working. The Monmouth County, New Jersey weekly paper has been growing at a rate of about ten per cent a year since its founding in 1999, and is significantly profitable. It keeps advertising costs low, with a loyal base of advertisers, and employs just 3.5 people.

Jacobson explained that "the Web makes no business sense for us," prompting one to wonder whether rejecting the Web altogether could be a good way forward for other small papers struggling with reduced advertising revenues.

However, it is arguable that the paper's content has as much to do with its success as the way in which this content is distributed. Mark Potts, blogging on Recovering Journalist, pointed out that TriCityNews' success might not necessarily be due to its lack of a website, but to its "fiercely local" approach. Many community papers are doing "just fine" he argues, due to the fact that they have little or no competition in covering the hyperlocal issues that affect local people.

Source: New York Times, Recovering Journalist



Emma Goodman


2009-01-05 14:43

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