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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Small town community newspapers continue to show strength south of the border, which can only be good news for publishers of them here in Canada.

Local  newspapers remain the dominant source of news in small towns and rural  areas, according to the results of a new survey performed by the  Reynolds  Journalism Institute’s Center for Advanced Social Research and  the University  of Missouri’s School of Journalism on behalf of the  National Newspaper  Association.

Overall,  74% of residents of these areas said they read the local newspapers  at  least once a week, with 48% reading them once a week and 11% reading them every day.

When interpreting these results, it should be remembered that  many of the  newspapers in question are weeklies or “non-dailies,”  making up 86% of the  newspapers in the survey. Thus, 70% of the  respondents said they read non-dailies.

Respondents  said they spent an average of 39 minutes a week reading the  local  newspaper, up slightly from a previous survey in 2010. The survey also  found that older adults, residents who  have stayed in their communities longer,  and people with more education  read local newspapers significantly more than  younger adults, residents  of shorter duration, and those with less  education.

Among  respondents who said they read a local newspaper, 92% said they pay  for  the newspaper, and the rest get it free. Within this group, 67%  subscribe  to the newspaper, while 33% said they buy it from a news rack  or store.

In  terms of motivation, 83.2% of respondents who read the local newspaper   do so primarily for the news content, but 69.2% also agreed that it  “provides  valuable local shopping and advertising information.”

The organizations surveyed 500 adults  ages 18 and over living in areas  served by newspapers with a circulation  under 15,000.

Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/164796/extra-extra-local-newspaper-readership-stays-str.html#ixzz1hrALKpeO

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The closure of Ottawa’s community newspapers in the Metroland family is such an affecting situation that the Canadian Association of Journalists has issued the following press release.

“The Canadian Association of Journalists is concerned that community newspaper amalgamations in Ottawa and area will lead to job losses.

The concern stems from the recent decision by Metroland Media Group Ltd. to close six community newspapers that had been serving the communities of south, west, east and central Ottawa along with Nepean and Barrhaven. The closures come after Metroland purchased Performance Printing Ltd., which publishes newspapers in the same communities.

There could be further closures ahead as these were not the only communities where both Metroland and Performance have publications.

“Closing a newspaper means extinguishing a voice within a community that people could turn to for news and information about their neighbourhoods,” CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. “Metroland’s aggressive entry into the Ottawa region in the last few years added new voices to the mix and brought competitiveness to community news. It’s unfortunate the chain is now killing off some of the papers it launched in its drive to consolidate operations.”

The CAJ understands the business rationale behind these consolidations, but is now concerned for the journalists whose newsrooms have been amalgamated. It encourages Metroland to keep its stated commitment that the positions from the closed newspapers will be moved to its remaining newsrooms.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing almost 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.”

All staff at both operations, as a condition of severance, have been told not to say anything to anyone regarding the buyout. Only the Citizen reported on it at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Metroland+closes+Ottawa+weekly+papers/5875031/story.html

Are you progressively becoming less impressed with the latest handheld, app or software to be launched, or about to be launched?

Me too. It seems as though as soon as we get comfortable programming and using our laptop, smart phone or tablet, yet another device is trumpeted as the Next Big Thing. The hype is relentless and, dare I say it, tedious and mind-numbing.

And yet, third-party reviewers of this stuff who claim to be technology journalists have dropped any pretense of objectivity and race to breathlessly recommend the latest, forgetting that the other 3,214 hyper-enthusiastic endorsements they made are all distant memories, as if to say “This time we’re REALLY serious about how GAME-CHANGING this stuff really is.”

Here’s an example from CyberJournalist.net, a site supposedly devoted to helping objective scribes to keep up with the times.

“If you think the iPad 2 and new Kindles are small and lightweight tablets, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Samsung is developing flexible displays that it plans on using for new smartphone and tablet devices.

The smartphones might be available in 2012. No date at this point for the tablets but they have released a video showing what they look like and how they might be used.

The combination of being bendable and see-through means that they are not only going to be easily portable, but can be used for augmented reality applications. Words can hardly describe.”

Words hardly describe? What is this, the Second Coming of Christ disguised as a bendable Samsung tablet? Did the person who wrote that ever experience a truly undescribable vision, like a sunset or a child being born?

I’m no luddite. I’ve been using digital technology in all of its iterations since 1979 (Compugraphic phototypesetter). My generation (yes, Steve Jobs) invented this stuff. I’ve been through all of the revolutions, including the dawn of desktop publishing. When I ran the Glengarry News, we partnered up with GlenNet to introduce the first web site of any rural newspaper in Eastern Ontario in 1995.

Today I have a desktop computer, a laptop, a two year-old cellphone, an iPhone 4s and a Samsung Android tablet. They’re all loaded with software and apps.

Are they cool? I guess somebody would say that since that word was hijacked to mean anything digital that captures our attention, even for a minute. But few, if anyone, is slowing down to absorb and fully exploit the technology they already have, before they’re urged and then convinced to toss it aside and dive into the latest way to make them a more efficient or entertained human being. All the while, as far as I know, the current definition of cool does not include ending homelessness, First Nation poverty, cancer or world debt.

Unfortunately an ever-growing segment of our economy relies on reinvention, even as the worth of what was reinvented before remains unproven, or inferior. Hello Windows Vista?

Here’s a snippet from an interview by Ad Age Magazine with Caroline Little, new president and CEO at the Newspaper Association of America, who took over on Sept. 6. Little was previously North America CEO of Guardian News and Media and before that led Washington Post Newsweek Interactive to its first year of profitability.

Ad Age:Declining print circulation is a long-term, ongoing trouble for newspapers. Will those declines ever end and a new normal for print ever emerge? Is that still an important question for publishers and advertisers?

Ms. Little: It continues to be an important question. I don’t think print is going to go away. At the same time I can’t predict when the circulation in print will stop declining. But I think that’s one way of looking at the issue.

“When you look at audiences overall they are phenomenal. If you were to tell me that audiences overall were going down, I’d be really worried. The challenge for us I think is audiences — whether it’s newspapers or music — want their media when they want it and where they want it. They’re not going to be bound by the distribution cycle. The challenge for us to catch up with business models that support that.

I and a lot of people love to read a newspaper in print and online, and that will continue. We will continue to benefit from print. Advertisers certainly do. There’s a lot of data that supports that. We also need to address business models that support a vast number of readers who read our newspapers in all media.”

Have a look at my blog from yesterday, then check this out. I swear I didn’t know he was in the market!

From the Omaha (Nebraska, U.S.) Herald

http://www.omaha.com/article/20111130/NEWS01/111139986#-lt-big-gt-buffett-to-buy-the-world-herald-lt-big-gt

“Warren Buffett said he is buying The Omaha World-Herald Co. in a $200 million transaction because well-run newspapers have a future and because Omaha is a “vibrant” community.
He said his hometown paper has been true to its role as a primary source of information for the community.
“I wouldn’t do this if I thought this was doomed to some sort of extinction,” said Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, whose surprise appearance at a meeting of the company’s employee-shareholders at the Holland Performing Arts Center drew a standing ovation. The World-Herald is the last major employee-owned newspaper in the country.”

Now Buffet is an absurdly wealthy man with not too many more years left and he’s working hard to shed himself of his vast fortune. Ensuring his hometown paper’s future might be on his bucket list. But I prefer to believe he sees something that I alluded to yesterday.