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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

If I Owned the Newspaper I would....
Kevin Johnston, Photographer
Oden | MI | USA | Posted: 12:43 PM on 11.25.08
->> With all of the talk about the demise of the newspaper industry I started wondering "What would I do if I owned a newspaper these days?".

Personally I would probably try to purchase or partner up with a local internet service provider. If I could put together an optional combination rate that included both internet servcie and print edition I would make the value of my advertising go up significantly. Not only would I hopefully increase current print readerhip but I would also capture a larger number of internet readers who get their news from other sites because there is no push or recommendation from their ISP to read mine instead.

But what do I know.

What would you do??
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Kevin Court, Photographer
Paducah | KY | USA | Posted: 12:58 PM on 11.25.08
->> I would do what The Sporting News is doing with electronic delivery. I really like their means of delivery.

Our big area paper, abt 25k circulation and dropping fast, charges $5/mo for online access to pdf's of the full print version and a few stories online.
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Kevin Johnston, Photographer
Oden | MI | USA | Posted: 1:04 PM on 11.25.08
->> Only rule for the purposes of this discussion is that you can't answer "sell it".
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Andrew Sullivan, Photo Editor, Photographer
Kissimmee | FL | USA | Posted: 1:06 PM on 11.25.08
->> Keelhaul the ad reps.


Andrew Sullivan
www.picandrew.com
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Matthew Apgar, Photographer
Bridgewater | NJ | USA | Posted: 1:12 PM on 11.25.08
->> ...have the board of directors work in the newsroom for a month, so they get a taste of what's really going on.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 1:13 PM on 11.25.08
->> I'd build on Kevin's model. I'd make my front page the home page for the internet service, so when you connect you see it first. And I'd make sure I always had something really interesting, maybe even quirky, pop up as the main story.

I'd cover all the local groups that daily papers ignore today -- county commissioners, school boards, township trustees -- using freelancers that I personally taught how to report on their communities, so they'd know what to look for. Because that's where the real stuff that affects people in small towns gets decided, likke zoning for a new business, and we'd have it first. There'd be no "these guys met Thursday" leads -- the stories would only pick out the important stuff and leave the "John Doe came in to bitch about his neighbor burning trash" out. But the trustees who want to buy a 10-story ladder truck for a volunteer fire department in a community where the tallest structure is a 3-story cement silo, THAT would be in.

I'd run every honor roll, eveny menu, every bit of school news they'd send me. Parents and grandparents read the paper and use the internet and they like that stuff A LOT.

We'd do enterprise reporting that almost no one else does now, like whether businesses delivered on the jobs they promised for the tax breaks they got when they arrived. And how effective local law enforcement has been in solving crimes.

I'd cover all the local high school sports teams by partnering with the coaches to send results, covering featured contests with my experienced sportswriters and using freelancers for the rest, and making sure every sport was represented regularly. I'd have at least one full-time photographer who'd pick the best events to cover based on visual strength and TRAIN my staff how to use a prosumer DSLR for the rest. And we'd run a high school band section at the end of the fall, making happy all those kids and parents who feel they get less coverage than the athletes.

And I wouldn't bother to waste money on wire services. People can get that content anywhere for free. I'd give them stuff they can't get anywhere else, stuff that people read, and that's how you get advertising dollars.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 1:22 PM on 11.25.08
->> I'd have as many local stories/angles as possible actually written by my paper's reporters. As little wire as possible, except for major events.

On a photography level, I'd equip my shooters all with D3's, Nikkor glass of their choice for their shooting styles and Macbook Pros for remote work and we'd slideshow everything.
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Nashville | TN | U.S. | Posted: 1:54 PM on 11.25.08
->> I'd make the website available to subscribers only.
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Dave Doonan, Photographer
Kingston | TN | USA | Posted: 2:29 PM on 11.25.08
->> be poor.
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Blaine McCartney, Photographer
Columbus | NE | USA | Posted: 3:44 PM on 11.25.08
->> Jeff,
What you would do is what most weekly papers do. Most small to mid-size daily papers should follow their lead.
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David Brooks, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 4:53 PM on 11.25.08
->> ...aside from the many lay-offs and organizational issues within my company- which I don't believe directly affect circulation or revenue since the decline pre-dates the lay-offs- and I hate to sound like a pessimist but I don't think I could do anything different than what has been done if I owned the newspaper. It's too big of a problem with no simple fix... no matter the owner.
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Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan Falls | WA | USA | Posted: 5:07 PM on 11.25.08
->> The Wenatchee World (www.wenworld.com) seems to have an answer to the declining print phenom and deliver a nice web site, but to interact you must also be a subscriber.

Me, I would have a strong web presence and make sure it was updated whenever something of importance happened thus driving people to keep checking.

It would also allow me to go deep with photo essays and sports images like we do on www.GoLakeChelan.com. The parents love it because even their non-hero athlete is sure to have his image show up when he/she get into the game.

Cheers Rich
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Kirby Yau, Photographer, Assistant
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 5:10 PM on 11.25.08
->> More comics and a bigger Mini Page!!!!
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Will Lester, Photographer
Ontario | CA | USA | Posted: 5:12 PM on 11.25.08
->> Make it a non-profit, so all profits go to raises and equipment. Invest back into the paper. No shareholders or corporate greed heads to runaway with the profits.
 This post is:  Informative (4) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Chris Stanfield, Photographer, Photo Editor
Atlanta | GA | USA | Posted: 7:36 PM on 11.25.08
->> - Publish on Sunday only.

- Grow the web site with relevant information that flows both ways.

- Be thankful for a 10% profit margin.

- Promote free thinking and innovation.

- Take a pay cut and share in the sacrifice.

- Tear down walls between departments.

- Lose the ego.

- Surround myself with people smarter than I am.

- Focus on local news and analytical reporting of national events as they relate to our readers.

- Hire the person...not the MBA.

- Invest most of our profits in innovation and keeping up with web trends.

- Communicate more openly with employees regarding our challenges and victories.

- Reward those that challenge the status quot.

- If we're not privately owned, we should be.

- Listen more than I talk.

- Pray.

- Pray some more.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Live HVN : Work SFO-NYC | | | Posted: 12:09 AM on 11.26.08
->> I'd hire Chris Stanfield as the ME and trust his philosophy.
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David A. Cantor, Photo Editor, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 3:27 AM on 11.26.08
->> I would trade it for a minor league baseball team
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 4:14 AM on 11.26.08
->> I'm with Cantor ...
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Los Angeles : SFO : HNL | CA | usa | Posted: 4:33 AM on 11.26.08
->> if i owned a paper, i would sell it because i wouldn't have to listen to 'rules' that other people make. people can't dictate what other people do with their property. not even for the sake of discussion.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 7:10 AM on 11.26.08
->> Line my birdcage, and wrap fish.
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Matthew Rosenberg, Photographer
Charlottesville | VA | United States | Posted: 7:35 AM on 11.26.08
->> First thing i would is kill the print edition except for Sunday.

Retrain my copydesk in web design skills so we could redesign the front page everyday.

Invest heavily in mobile delivery toweb enabled cell phones.

Develop my own branded E-Ink display similar to the Kindle.
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Ashley Landis, Photographer
Kyle | TX | USA | Posted: 10:10 AM on 11.26.08
->> I'd get back the mentality that a quality product sells better, and invest in people that understand that.

And what Chris Stanfield said.
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 10:19 AM on 11.26.08
->> "I say we spread mustard on it."

http://tinyurl.com/5ed6hl
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 11:50 AM on 11.26.08
->> Sell it on Craigslist
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Bryon Houlgrave, Photographer
Waukesha | Wi | USA | Posted: 12:27 PM on 11.26.08
->> I would offer Chris Stanfield $1,000 dollars more than what Fish is paying and cushion that with a promotion and a business card that says Newsroom Messiah.
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Mitch Traphagen, Photographer
Victor | IA | USA | Posted: 1:34 PM on 11.26.08
->> I do own the newspaper - albeit a small one. I started it last January. I'm now to the point of break even - maybe a little profit.

I try to do pretty much everything that Jeff Brehm mentioned but it is difficult, to say the least. I have one full-time reporter and I've outfitted her with a 40D, 1D, 16-35 2.8L and a 70-200 2.8L. She has been on a steep learning curve for several months now.

I try to cover all sports but cannot. I can't afford to hire another sportsshooter right now and even finding kids motivated and willing to shoot has been inconsistent.

Since it is a weekly, I decided to provide instant coverage of the football season - people could log on within hours of the game to see rough photo galleries and video interviews. That damn near killed me in terms of time and effort. But it did pay off, subscriptions came in strong.

An rough example is here:
http://www.eiherald.com/artman2/publish/news/HLV_Slams_Lone_Tree_in_Game_On...

I won't be able to do it for basketball but probably will if the teams I cover go into post season play. Assuming, of course, I decide to keep going with this.

The paper is growing fairly rapidly given the small population around here. Subscriptions come in every day. I am working 100+ hours per week and have been for the past year. It is taking a toll. Dave Doonan is right - owning a paper means being poor. The growth is almost becoming a negative as I feel compelled to expand out to areas from which subscriptions come. Ad sales always lag behind that.

I've received a tremendous amount of support from the community - which is probably the one thing that has kept me from shutting it down. I have no sales staff so all advertising comes to me. That is not a good plan. Again, Dave Doonan is right.

There have been many positives but some huge negatives and each week I wonder if I have the energy to do it again next week.

I am the owner, editor and janitor. I named my wife publisher because I try to minimize my contact with advertisers. She has a full-time job but in every spare minute, she is making and taking calls on behalf of the paper.

I've enjoyed reading all of the posts here - I've learned a bit. In fact, maybe I'll sell it on Craigslist - or just try it with mustard. That might be the ticket.

Mitch
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Mitch Traphagen, Photographer
Victor | IA | USA | Posted: 4:14 PM on 11.26.08
->> Actually, that long rant brought up a thought. Over the summer things looked a little bleak. I made the mistake of letting a guy who was on top of a community organization know that I may have to look at quitting. I told him that was confidential.

Within days people were coming into my office with offers to give me money so the paper could keep going. Yes - give. Naturally, I declined and somehow made it over that hump.

The point to all of this is that people don't dislike newspapers - most people still love them. They just want a newspaper that can be theirs, I think.
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Chris Stanfield, Photographer, Photo Editor
Atlanta | GA | USA | Posted: 4:39 PM on 11.26.08
->> Mitch,

Well said.

With praise and admiration,

chris
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Tim Hynds, Photo Editor, Photographer
Sioux City | IA | USA | Posted: 5:07 PM on 11.26.08
->> Mitch,

Bravo!

Tim (former reporter and sometimes editor, NEWSpapers of Iowa County - back when it was locally owned)
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Mitch Traphagen, Photographer
Victor | IA | USA | Posted: 5:40 PM on 11.26.08
->> Tim - I can assure you that people around here greatly miss those days. They are well-remembered.

Chris - thank you.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:31 PM on 12.04.08
->> Mitch;
Interesting...go deep on local news; provide a high level of customer service...

Build it ..and they come.

Hmmmmm.....

Michael
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Thread Title: If I Owned the Newspaper I would....
Thread Started By: Kevin Johnston
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