22 January, 2014

Instead of Squashing Them Like Bugs, Charleston Newspapers Just Gave Small Town Weekly Newspapers A Picnic

Congratulations, Town & Country and St. Albans Monthly! Charleston Newspapers just made it easier for you to sell ads!

If you didn't see it - and it's easy to miss, this morning's Kanawha Valley Neighbors insert contained an announcement that "in the near future", only those readers who have opted in will continue to receive Kanawha Valley Neighbors.

Man, is this a dumb move and just another example of why newspapers are dying from self-inflicted wounds.

Some readers won't see that announcement. Others will forget to send in the subscription card, visit the website or make a phone call to keep their Kanawha Valley Neighbors coming which will result  in fewer readers which will make Neighbors less attractive to advertisers.

But what a windfall of good fortune to St. Albans Monthly and Town & Country!. Charleston Newspapers has, in effect, ceded some of their readers and ad dollars to those small newspapers. Instead of squashing the "little guys" like bugs, Charleston Newspapers has spread a picnic feast before them.

When advertisers start buying ads in St. Albans Monthly and Town & Country instead of Kanawha Valley Neighbors and the other "Metro editions" of the Charleston Newspapers, those Metros will go belly up and those of us who depend on these Metro editions for the hyper-local news we can't get from other news sources will have no way to get small town, neighborhood-level news.

Think about it, Charleston Newspapers, there are a lot of ways for your readers to get world and national news. Internet. TV. Radio. But there are diminishing sources of hyper-local news so hyper-local is where your opportunity lies.

I use Twitter to get hyper-local news. Yeah, on the rare occasion when I can find a small town city council member or mayor who tweets, I follow them. I also follow Neighborhood Watch leaders, police departments, bloggers - anybody who might tweet some neighborhood-level news. 

Instead of marginalizing your one source of hyper-local news, Charleston Newspapers should be scouring the region for city council members, neighborhood watch leaders, civic organization leaders and asking them what's going on in their community. 

Do high schools still have student-written newspapers? Perhaps you can tap them for hyper-local news. I want it and I don't have anywhere else to get it except St. Albans Monthly and Twitter.
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