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Starting a new paper?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mudduck, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. mudduck

    mudduck New Member

    There's so much talk here on the bad in this industry and how papers are becoming irrelevant.

    But what about Small Town USA? Say you're from a Microtown and that town lost its paper. Everyone misses the paper and wants it -- or a suitable replacement -- back.

    You know the inside story and know that a paper could succeed there.

    Would you do it? Why or why not?
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    They all miss the malts at the drug store and the big department stores, too. Problem is the people that miss them are the problem -- they stopped going in the first place, which is why they went out of business.
  3. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    smalltown papers can be very profitable if managed correctly but sometimes there's a reason other than bad management that closes down a paper. there may be people who say they miss it and want it back but that doesn't always translate into advertising revenue.

    that said, my heart says i'd do it. fortunately, my head (and lack of financing because even a small paper ain't cheap, especially a startup) says no at this time.
  4. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Hit the nail on the head. When a small-town paper folds, its usually not because of circulation problems, but a lack of advertising base. In really small towns, there are only a handful of businesses, and they're usually well-established and don't need to advertise in The Daily Shitrag to stay afloat. That's often the problem with small papers.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I've always said if I win the lottery, I'll piss it away by starting a daily paper in my hometown.
  6. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Reminds of this scene in Seinfeld:

    George and Jerry's favourite pizza joint is closing. They go back for one last slice. Listen to the owner's response when they show up.
  7. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I'd buy the one I'm at and do some, um, restructuring of the staff.
  8. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    I would. But then again, I know that the nearby regional paper, for some unknown reason, really doesn't do much in the area.

    I'm from a town/small city (depends on one's perspective) that desperately needs a competitive paper run by someone with a clue. If one of the bigger chains were to go in there and offer some competition, I really think the established publication would be in big, big trouble.

    But the days of the two-paper towns are over, at least in anything other than a major metro area. And if I win the lottery, I'm doing a lot of other things besides starting up some competition at home, no matter how confident I am about smoking the competition.
  9. We take things for granted and then they're gone. Just the way of the world.

    Also, people are cheap and want something for nothing. I sit close to circulation, and most of the reps have to explain to people why they can't have the paper for free or half off. I have a friend in accounting, who spends most of his day calling delinquint advertisers. They want a deal, don't get one, buy an ad anyway and just don't pay.

    But, make no mistake, papers make plenty of money. We all know about those profit margins, don't we? If it wasn't for the greed, those papers wouldn't have shut down to begin with because they WERE making money.
  10. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Would Bob Jelenic be invited to the office ribbon-cutting?
  11. How much do you really know? You may know how to publish one but what do you know about advertising and circulation? Who's going to sell ads and distribute it - those questions are much more important to your financial health than what's actually in the paper.

    If you don't have someone you trust working those aspects you're SOL.
  12. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I started my own weekly rag because I thought it was needed. It also was a move of stupidity to compete against a former employer of mine. My knowledge of sales and circulation (and at that time, design) was nil, and it bombed, even though people said they liked it.

    If you are gonna do this, you must do three things:
    a.) Draw up a business plan.
    b.) Start with a nice nest egg.
    c.) Get an experienced sales person on board long before you start.

    You can do everything else but sell the ads. You need someone who's main deal is to sell, sell, sell, otherwise you will fall flat on your face.
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