Noted: “Print-Only Local Paper’s Success”

I’m totally fascinated by this item here about a newspaper near the Jersey Shore that has “rejected” the Web, kept its content print-only, and has apparently enjoyed steady growth over the past decade.

Who needs conventional wisdom?

US: print-only local paper’s success
Editor’s Weblog, January 6, 2009

TriCityNews publisher and owner Dan Jacobson put it simply: “I don’t understand how putting content on the Web would do anything but help destroy our paper,” as giving away content would presumably mean that people would have no need to buy the print copy.

And his theory seems to be working. The Monmouth County, New Jersey weekly paper has been growing at a rate of about ten per cent a year since its founding in 1999, and is significantly profitable. It keeps advertising costs low, with a loyal base of advertisers, and employs just 3.5 people.

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3 Responses to Noted: “Print-Only Local Paper’s Success”

  1. Suzanne says:

    And they accomplish it by:
    1) Being “boosterish” editorially, and
    2) Having lots and lots and lots of tacky full-page ads.

    “Why should we give our readers any incentive whatsoever to not look at our content along with our advertisements, a large number of which are beautiful and cheap full-page ads?”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/22/business/media/22carr.html?8dpc

    This is an alt-weekly, so they can do whatever they want. But does a Penny Saver = newspaper? Is this really what the world needs?

  2. Digidave says:

    I take a small grudge against this quote: “I don’t understand how putting content on the Web would do anything but help destroy our paper,”

    This is a bit newspaper-centric. Putting content on the web does A LOT.

    It might be bad for the newspaper – but humankind is far far better with such easy access to information.

    Net positive in my book.

    Still there is something to be said for a newspaper that can hold its own. My question is whether or not this would be possible in a larger city where there was competition in the news/media sphere.

    ie: This would not work in San Francisco. Just my two cents

  3. admin says:

    It is true that the growth seems really ad-driven, i.e., not by subscriptions. So what I wonder is whether it’s possible to drive print sustainability by subscriptions with no Web presence, or whether it’s limited to the ad-dependent “alt-weekly” model.

    If one were to gamble on a print-only publication with no Web archives, it had damn well better be something people can’t live without! Print is a discipline.

    (Also see “Printcasting: An Aside”: http://illuminated-media.org/?p=43)

    josh

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