Commentary: Our side - The strength of community newspapers
It is time for newspapers and their staffs to tell the other side of the story regarding our industry. Recent news stories told about the decline of newspaper circulation in most of the major metro markets across the country. But, what we didn't ...
It is time for newspapers and their staffs to tell the other side of the story regarding our industry.
Recent news stories told about the decline of newspaper circulation in most of the major metro markets across the country. But, what we didn't read about is the readership increase that has taken place in other parts of the country in community newspapers -- in our newspaper print products and the expansion of our Web sites.
In the markets our company serves, 74 percent of adults read our printed product or our newspaper Web sites.
We as a communication company feel it is time to speak out and give positive information of our industry to our readers. No one delivers local news better than your daily and weekly newspapers. We, as an industry, understand the need to deliver the news to different demographics by various delivery methods, and we do that well.
We have developed Web sites for each of our markets to serve our online readers as well as our advertisers. Our Web sites, which include our online advertising products, delivered over 23 million page views in April 2008, with over 5.2 million visits.
The West Central Tribune's Web site is delivering excellent online readership: the site's most recent six-month average showed 50,420 unique visitors and 1,031,459 page views per month. In fact, the Web site's page views are up 42 percent in April compared to the previous year.
The Tribune's total circulation for last six-month audit period was 16,279, an increase of 1.1 percent compared to the previous audit period.
When you combine the print readership with the newspapers's Web site readership, the West Central Tribune's total audience is trending up significantly.
Our industry is alive and well and still considered the No. 1 means of delivering information to the people in our communities. When a story breaks in west central Minnesota, readers turn to the West Central Tribune and its Web site. When readers looks for advertising information, they turn to the West Central Tribune and its Web site.
Today, we do a better job than ever of delivering the news and advertising, because we can bring it immediately to our Web sites. This is what is happening in our newspapers' market and I'm sure there are other positive stories to be told by other newspaper companies across the country.
We are not all in a large metro market and the fact is that the community newspaper business is still strong and vibrant.
Lloyd Case is the president and chief executive officer of the Forum Communications Company, the owner of the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Steve Ammermann is publisher of the West Central Tribune of Willmar.