IN MY OPINION

We remain committed to our local coverage in 2020

Now, that the year 2019 is fully in our rear-view mirror and 2020 spreads out before us as a great unknown, this seems to be an appropriate time to discuss the current state of the newspaper business and the communications industry in general. This report is being filed with you, our readership, because you are, in essence, our board of directors and franchise holders supporting our very existence.
Media has chosen sides in what has become a bitter partisan political conflict and doesn’t even hint at being objective and fact-finding in their reporting. Given the shifting economic paradigm in the communications business that desertion of journalistic ethics is resulting in the suicide of an entire industry with horrible ancillary damage.
Recognizing that our business is one that is under tremendous pressure to adapt to a new generation of news consumers, we embarked on a number of changes this past year designed to better serve our readers. Economic conditions pretty well mandate that the size of the average community weekly publications be reduced to roughly 12 pages. The rule of thumb requires the end product be 50 percent advertising and 50 percent news hole.
We maintained all three office locations to guarantee thorough local coverage while combining the three papers into one which was much larger and represented a greater value for the reader since subscription rates remained the same. One can still keep in touch with one’s community for 50 cents or less. We don’t believe that there is any greater value on the credible printed word available anywhere.
When the change was made to The Mid Valley Times, which incorporated all three previous nameplates, we increased the type size in an effort to support greater readability. A puzzle page was added to make your newspaper entertaining as well as informative. Today’s reader will notice there are now more color photographs than ever to memorialize events and people from this community. The smallest editorial staff we’ve ever had works extremely hard to make sure that you, our reader, is kept abreast of city government, community, high school and sports coverage of our youngsters. That kind of coverage from a handful of reporters and editors represents a herculean task.
Throughout some extreme economic pressure our employees have remained loyal and redoubled their efforts to produce one of the best weeklies anywhere; readers in the community have remained loyal consumers of our product and advertisers, who have had to fight their own battles, have remained loyal in their support of a local newspaper. We can’t begin to thank them enough. Advertising is the lifeblood of any media outlet, while the number of subscribers provides a rate base for that advertising. Those advertisers want to reach as many of you as possible with their message.
Shop locally any time you can and help keep the economy of our little towns in this fertile valley strong while it makes such an ideal place of all of us to live.
Truth is that one in every five newspapers operating in the United States 10 years ago has shuttered their operations while others have severely curtailed their printing with reduced circulation and fewer print days. Thousands of newspaper and media people have been forced to look elsewhere for work.
We believe that “when all the shooting is over and the smoke blows away” that small community papers — such as ours — have the greatest probability of continued success because the need of small towns to remain informed and connected.
But, as always, that’s only one man’s opinion.
May God bless all of you and to everyone a glorious and blessed New Year!