Archive for the ‘community newspaper’ Category

Warren Buffett And The Strength of Community Newspapers

Given that the newspaper industry has been hearing the death knell for over a decade, Warren Buffet’s purchase of 64 newspapers raised more than a few eyebrows.

Usually when someone invests in an industry that has been publicly (and unfairly) placed in a hospice, analysts view it as fool’s gold. However, when the most successful investor of all time invests in the same industry, those experts tend to give it a closer look.

So what does Warren Buffet, the contrarian, know that other investors don’t? “Newspapers that intensively cover their communities will have a good future,” Warren Buffet wrote in a letter to the publishers and editors of Berkshire Hathaway’s daily newspapers.

So why are national papers losing sales? George Affleck, General Manager of the BCYCNA, argues that national papers are cutting editorial costs in an effort to increase revenue, whereas community papers are “beefing” up their editorial, which retains newspaper readership. “Focus on the story and the advertising will come,” Affleck summed up on CBC’s Cross-Country Check-Up.

Because of their broad scope, national papers do not enjoy the same level of reader loyalty that community papers experience. Buffet echoes this sentiment: “In a very general way, strong interest in community affairs varies inversely with population size and directly with the number of years a community’s population has been in residence.”

Buffet clearly sees a strong future for community papers, despite the threat of 24/7 online news. On the contrary, as last week’s report by Newspapers Canada highlighted, community papers have strong online components, which has helped them increase their revenue via advertising.

While Buffet acknowledges the obstacles newspapers face today, he believes community papers will continue to thrive. “Papers have only failed when (1) the town or city had two or more competing dailies; (2) The paper lost its position as the primary source of information important to its readers or (3) the town or city did not have a pervasive self-identity. We don’t face these problems.”

BCYCNA General Manager George Affleck on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup

The Globe & Mail and The National Post, Canada’s two national newspapers, have recently taken steps to cut costs as their revenues have shrunk. In light of these developments, Suhana Meharchand, host of CBC’s Cross Country Checkup, devoted an entire segment to discussing the state of the newspaper industry. Experts from across Canada partook in debating the health and future of Canada’s newspaper industry.

Our own George Affleck, BCYCNA General Manager, was one of these experts. On the subject of community newspapers, Affleck cites the growing number of papers and loyal readership as proof of its health. Community papers, with a loyal readership base of 75+%, are maintaining their audience despite a paradigm shift in mobile reading devices such as tablets and smartphones.

A fundamental difference between national and community papers is the priority they place on editorial. Whereas national papers are cutting editorial costs in an effort to increase revenue, community papers are “beefing” up their editorial which, Affleck convincingly argues, retains newspaper readership. From an advertising standpoint, strong editorial will attract more advertisers because they know that the newspaper is trusted. As Affleck summarizes: “Focus on the story and the advertising will come.”

As more young people are reading long-form news articles online, the priority placed on editorial is advantageous for attracting readers from an exploding e-reader demographic.

If that weren’t enough to convince readers of the health of the industry, Warren Buffet – the world’s most successful investor – recently invested $300 million in buying up community newspapers. The future of the local paper looks bright.

Click here to listen to the entire program or go to 25:35 in the show to listen to George Affleck’s segment on community newspapers.

Newspaper Advertising in Canada is Thriving – Report

A recent report by Newspapers Canada shows that Canadian community newspapers are growing in size and popularity!

According to the report, there are 122 daily and over 1,100 community newspapers, a 21% increase from 1970! Just as encouraging is the increased newspaper readership. Print and digital readership is up by 4% and 59%, respectively, creating a combined increased readership of over 6% over the past five years!

The advertising environment for newspapers is also shown to be thriving, with a quarter of all advertising occurring in newspapers or on their sites.
Canadians are also found to accept advertisements in newspapers, citing their expectations for advertising in newspapers as a main reason for this.
The full report, found here, should provide plenty of optimism for those advertising in Canadian community newspapers.

Nanaimo News Bulletin recognized at annual journalism awards

By Staff Writer – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: April 16, 2012 10:00 AM

News Bulletin employees won the jackpot in Richmond Saturday at the annual Ma Murray Awards.

Reporter Toby Gorman and advertising manager Sean McCue took home the gold in their categories at the awards hosted by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association and held at the River Rock Casino.

Gorman won the business writing award for his story, Beekeepers anxiously await winter results, about local beekeepers hoping to rebound from decimating losses to their stocks the year prior.

“The goal is always to tell the best and most accurate stories which reflect Nanaimo, its residents and businesses,” Gorman said. “To be recognized for doing that is a great feeling.”

McCue won for best ad design award – collaborative, for circulation over 25,000, for the four-page Report to Community from the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.

Advertising representative Chantal Richard took home the silver ad campaign award, with a front-page banner for Nanaimo Health Shop.

Donna Blais also won the silver classifieds award for the News Bulletin’s overall classified section.

Former Nanaimo city councillor Merv Unger, a former News Bulletin editor who ended his long career in newspapers as publisher of the Business Examiner, earned the Eric Dunning Integrity Award.

News Bulletin publisher Maurice Donn ended his year-long role as president of the community newspapers association at the gala event, which saw hundreds of representatives from across the province gather to celebrate the best in community journalism.

Journalist recognized for devotion to craft

By Chris Hamlyn – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: April 18, 2012 4:00 PM

Throughout a 50-year career in journalism, Merv Unger remained true to his craft and community.

In recognition of his work, Unger, a former News Bulletin editor and former Nanaimo city councillor, received the Eric Dunning Integrity Award at the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association’s Ma Murray Awards Saturday at the River Rock Casino in Richmond.

“After a lifetime in the industry, to be recognized for integrity is the highest recognition anyone could ever hope for,” he said.

Unger, 71, started in journalism as a 12-year-old columnist for the Carillion News in Steinbach, Man., reporting on who got married, who died or who was visiting the big city.

His career included everything from a copy boy with the Winnipeg Free Press to reporter, photographer and columnist for the Winnipeg Tribune.

A move to Nanaimo in the early 1980s led to work at the Nanaimo Daily Free Press and then as the first editor of the News Bulletin in 1988. He retired from Black Press in 2006 after serving as publisher of the Business Examiner.

“No opportunities ever came by that I found more appealing that I wanted to change gears,” he said. “I took three years to work for the Saskatchewan government in tourism development branch and did  a couple years of radio, but again, it’s all media.”

Unger is the third Bulletin employee to receive the Dunning award, joining founding publisher Roy Linder (2007) and former editor Rollie Rose (2011).

“It’s all to do with principles and beliefs,” said Unger. “I think we’re all cut from the same cloth.”

Linder said Unger’s columns in the Bulletin developed a readership as the paper started as a shopping guide in its early days.

“We all saw Merv’s professionalism,” he said. “He is an interesting guy with a lot of interesting things to say, and he created a spark in the community.

Unger’s community service includes six years on city council, as well as involvement with St. John Ambulance, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256, the B.C. Cancer Foundation and more.

“Nanaimo has been very good to me, so it’s easy to want to give back,” he said. “I’ve got my health and still able to do a lot of stuff even though I’ve stepped down from paying work. It’s a good feeling.

He has seen a number of changes in journalism over the years, some not always for the best.

“I’ve seen changes from very strict rules in journalism where news reporting and commentary were separated stringently. If you were a reporter, you had no opinion,” he said. “That has evolved all the way to today where I think one of the biggest dangers is advocacy journalism, where people take on causes and do not present an unbiased picture.”

Unger is a fan of technology and the Internet, but sees a definite lack of integrity in a lot of the work being published.

“There are very few people on the Internet who are journalists, because journalism is work, not trashing out anything without having to back it up,” he said. “If I had a credo, I would rather do what’s right than what’s popular, because it’s easy to be popular for a short period of time.”

Newspapers Are Still Vitally Important

While digital technologies are giving rise to new forms of newspaper distribution, print continues to be the primary format for Canadian adults when it comes to reading newspapers.

A new study conducted by Totum Research on behalf of Newspaper Canada revealed that the majority of adult readers prefers print over other formats, such as websites, phones or tablets, although many of those are also used over the course of a day.

As the research points out, print continues to be unabated in mornings and evenings, with digital formats gaining momentum at different times of a day. The dominance of physical newspaper is particularly noticeable in the boomers’ age group, where 63 per cent choose print over other formats.

On a weekend morning, all adult age groups favour print newspaper over other formats, particularly during breakfast and before lunch. And the time of day seems to be the primary factor also when it comes to information interests.

Click here to read the full study.

Canadian Newspapers Honoured by Society for News Design

The National Post and The Grid, a free weekly paper owned by Torstar, have been named the World’s Best-Designed newspapers by the Society for News Design. The two Canadian papers were among five publications singled out by the SND for their outstanding print design at the 33rd annual Best of News Design Creative Competition. Judges evaluated entries from over 70 countries around the world and awarded prizes based on a number of criteria including writing, visual storytelling, photography/graphics, headlines and overall design.

The World’s Best-Designed category is one part of the larger Best of News Design competition which includes 18 other categories. The National Post received a total of 59 awards at the annual competition, second only to the Los Angeles Times which received 62. A number of other Canadian papers were honoured with awards of excellence, the Toronto Star received 10 while The Globe and Mail received nine.

Click here to read more.

Selling is a business of words

By John Foust, Raleigh, NC

Ad agency legend David Ogilvy once wrote, “Advertising is a business of words.” The same can be said for selling. The right word can make a sale, and the wrong word can lose a sale.

Sharp sales people are aware that certain words call for special handling. Generally speaking, these are common expressions that seem harmless at first glance – but can communicate the wrong message or the wrong tone. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

1. “Advertising cost.” Cost suggests spending. When it comes to money, business people don’t like to think of spending. “Investment” is a better word, because it indicates that there will be a return on their money.

Don’t send the wrong signal. Talk about investing, instead of spending. After all, ROI (return on investment) has been a hot business acronym for years.

2. “Sign here.” When it’s time to close the sale, some prospects flinch at words that suggest an iron-clad, formal agreement. “Sign” is cold. It makes the document sound like a treaty.

It’s better to say, “Just approve here,” or “All we need is your autograph here.” It’s even stronger to follow up with a benefit statement like, “…and we’ll get to work on that ad idea we’ve worked out.”

3. “But.” This little word has big implications. Consider what happens when a sales person says, “I like your idea, BUT it might work better with a change in the headline.”

The word “but” voids the first part of the statement. It says, “Forget what I just said. Here’s the bad news.” And it can make the speaker sound condescending and corrective.

It’s better to substitute “and” for “but.” The statement now becomes, “I like your idea, AND it might work even better with a change in the headline.” See the difference? Although only one word has changed, the statement is less confrontational.

4. Waffle words. “Kinda,” “sorta,” and “basically” are puny words that have joined “you know” in the fuzzy thinker’s vocabulary.

What do these words say about a sales person? At best, they are evidence of bad communication habits. At worst, they suggest that he or she is an indecisive person who has a hard time being specific.

I laugh every time I hear an athlete say, “Basically, we were trying to keep our momentum going.” What does “basically” add to this sentence? Nothing.

5. “You’ll have to…” This phrase creeps into a lot of conversations:

Advertiser: “I need help with my ad design.”

Sales person: “You’ll have to talk to someone in our creative department.”

In reality, your advertisers don’t “have to” do anything. By placing ads in your publication – or on your website – they have put their trust in you to help them grow their businesses. It’s more respectful to substitute “I’ll be glad to” for “You’ll have to.”

Advertiser: “I need help with my ad design.”

Sales person: “I’ll be glad to introduce you to our design team. Let’s set an appointment.”

It’s all a matter of using the right words.

(c) Copyright 2012 by John Foust. All rights reserved.

John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. E-mail for information:

Understanding Community Media

Community media continue to be vitally important to the communities they serve. At least that is the conclusion of Compass24, an extensive study of community media conducted by Ads24. While aiming to uncover recent shifts in readership, demographics and spend patterns of community newspapers, the study also serves as an important tool for advertisers.

Linda Gibson, the CEO of Ads24, pointed out in an interview with Glenda Nevill how “community newspapers provide the perfect opportunity for brands to be more specific, less generic and to showcase their commitment to their customers by being present and involved in their communities.” By understanding the consumption patterns of community newspapers, advertisers are hence able to direct their investment more effectively.

The Compass24 highlights the pertaining relevance of community media, which are expected to provide a differentiated editorial offering from what readers would find in general newspapers. With their focus on local happenings, community newspapers also tend to attract readers, who do not read mainstream newspapers regularly. Although the study focused on South African market, the scale of the study, which included 72 titles, indicates a larger pattern of consumption that could be relevant to other media landscapes.

Click here to read the full article.

Community Newspapers – Snapshot of 2011

Newspapers Canada made a fun summary of the community newspapers survey results of 2011. Click here to view the pdf version.

Did you know that?

  • Every week in Canada, over 1,000 community newspapers circulate over 19 million copies in key metropolitan areas, rural and remote regions, and all areas in between;
  • Community Newspapers are able to target communities like no other medium and are often the only choice for local news and information relevant to readers in the community. They represent the neighbourhood they serve;
  • The readership of community newspapers is strong - 74% of adults are reading a community newspaper every week. Furthermore, community newspapers reach 77% of women—more than any other medium—a key demographic difficult to reach with other media;
  • Community Newspapers are trusted more than any other medium, 41% states that newspapers are the medium to check out ads;
  • The community newspaper’s websites are delivering local information to the community and the neighbouring region at the touch of a button, they become the town square online;
  • Community newspaper readers are committed to their papers with two-thirds reading all or most of the publication;
  • Readers on average share the paper with 2.4 additional readers;
  • Readers want the ads: Almost half of readers indicate there are days when they read the community newspaper as much for the ads as for the news;
  • Readers want the flyers: Community newspapers are a popular vehicle for inserts and advertising supplements. More than a third of readers cite flyers as one of their main reasons for reading their community newspaper.

If you are interested in more readership facts and wish to read the entire survey then click here to view the pdf.