Recharging the batteries
By Timothy Linscott
This past weekend was the Nebraska Press Convention, held this year in Grand Island.
Every year the convention provides some ‘continuing education’ opportunities for editors, reporters, publishers, graphic designers and especially sales representatives.
This year was a bit different for me as it is the first time in several years I have gone when it was not in Lincoln, which normally was a 45 minute drive. This was a bit more of a jaunt but well worth it because it gave me the opportunity to learn a few things that I can pass on to the readers and strengthen the paper.
We here at the Tribune-Sentinel are constantly looking for ways to improve the product. When we improve the product, readers are happier, when readers are happier and more involved, then advertisers are happier and more involved. When advertisers are happier and more involved, it allows us to do more with the product, which, in turn, allows us to make readers and advertisers happy.
This cycle has been going on for years and will continue for years.
Soon we will be launching a re-design of the paper and doing some exciting things with the paper, so keep reading for further details. We have spent many hours with a consultant, torn down our own product, looked at other products, generated ideas, looked at different methods of doing things and tried to make the paper the actual best it can be each week.
Journalism instructor David Knight once told me, ‘Hate your publication.’ Never be satisfied, never stop working to improve, never ever settle for ‘just good enough.’
People in the journalism field have a passion for this business, it is something I feel many of us were chosen to do in life. The business chooses you, not the other way around in some instances.
However, some say the giant newsprintasaurus that is the printed, weekly newspaper, is aging, ailing and becoming extinct.
Social media and digital news seem to be buzzwords in the world today. How is the newspaper industry tackling these problems? The same way they have for over a century: staying the course.
I liken an issue of a newspaper to a movie. Look at, for instance, a fight scene in a blockbuster action movie. A two minute fight scene may take two to three days to shoot with hundreds of people setting things up, letting them get blown up or knocked over, just to hear ‘cut’ and start all over with the next take of the scene.
This monumental effort goes forward for all movies with hundreds of hands in the project to make it work.
This same effort goes into putting together a newspaper each week. It takes our entire crew, and then some, to get the paper out each week.
In my career I have driven an hour one way for a photo that was tucked inside the paper and barely noticed, but to do our jobs, deliver the news and keep the public informed, that is what we have to do each week. We all take pride in that fact. Every journalist, like people in the movie industry, obsess over the details. Yes, we make mistakes, but we never stop trying to be better at our jobs.
Does it work? Studies have shown that 169 million U.S. adults read something from the newspaper media each week and 144 million of those do so with a physical copy.
Going back to the topic of the cycle of readers and advertisers, a study released in January noted that 63 percent of adults in all of North America trust newspaper ads. This is a better percentage than every other form of paid advertising, from magazines to television, radio and online.
Newsprintasaurus is still around and will be, in my opinion, for quite some time.