Not All Newspaper Chains Are Facing Doom And Gloom Scenarios

from the local-local-local dept

The common refrain on the newspaper industry is that it's dying out, being replaced by online news sources. Of course, that leaves out some important facts: such as the fact that there are newspaper chains that are actually doing quite well, even when they mostly focus on the old dinosaur of actual newspapers. Romenesko points us to a story about David Black, a Canadian newspaper publisher who owns a ton of local newspapers around Canada and the US that are actually doing quite well. But, that's because they're not competing with the big dailys, but focus on having a lean staff that writes almost exclusively about local news. His papers are all local papers, that don't try to provide all that other news that you can already get online, but the news that is only going to be interesting to a small group of folks. But, as Black has learned over many years, those small groups of folks are a lucrative audience. While other newspapers have trouble competing, Black's are full of ads -- many from local businesses which find those papers an effective (and cost effective) way to cut through the clutter.

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  • identicon
    Bill W, 17 Jul 2008 @ 7:30pm

    Nice to hear

    You know, there's a lot of talk around here about "Business Models" and "knowing your market" ... I can "know" what those mean but I don't have a clue how to "do" it. Perhaps that's the trouble, not many folks grok it? I don't. But it's nice to hear about someone who, apparently, does. ;-)

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  • identicon
    annon, 17 Jul 2008 @ 11:01pm

    Wow, I haven't seen anyone use the word grok since the 80's, it brought back memories, I think I'll go re-read the book, Thanks.

    But, I do agree. The new model/idea is needed by many industries but it seems that the people that need the ideas the most are in the worst possible position to figure out what to try.

    The "My way is the only right way" and "We've always done it this way" blindness will kill them as dead as a TRex while the little mammals take over their world.

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  • identicon
    Gunnar, 18 Jul 2008 @ 3:55am

    Black also delivers his papers to homes, free of charge. He only makes money off of advertising.

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  • identicon
    John Wilson, 18 Jul 2008 @ 8:54am

    Black's papers are relentlessly local

    Which is a good thing for those of us living in the small towns that his papers serve.

    Not only do they concentrate on local coverage they also don't bother competing with papers in larger cities nearby who could cover some regional events more completely. Sadly, if my part of the world is any indication they don't.

    Black's reporters and editors are told to get out of their little office's and mingle in their town, get to know people and actually be a part of the community they serve.

    So they do end up with an almost instinctive feel for what is actually news in their towns and what issues are of interest to the locals.

    You may also be suprised at the breadth of coverage and stories which are the result proving, if it needs to be proven, that small town folks aren't as narrow minded and prejudicial as the urbaniods that make up the reporting and editorial staff of major urban dailies would like their readers to believe.



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  • identicon
    ed, 18 Jul 2008 @ 8:37pm


    My brother lives in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley served by a Black paper that comes three days a week. He says he wishes it came five days a week. That is the way to do it, leave them demanding more. I don't know what Black is doing (his papers aren't online), but whatever it is should be bottled and sold for a mint to these major metro dailies that are about to collapse. (p.s. it ain't design).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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