As one of the publishers of an eight-year-old independent newspaper in Mobile -- Lagniappe -- I couldn't agree with you more. I am also glad to see the newspaper that spawned my love of independent publications is still alive and fighting.
We've had our best three months ever to end this year. I don't think it's coincidence that when we founded Lagniappe, we did so under the tenet that editorial would always come first and would lead to stronger advertising as people came to us to read. That indeed seems to be the case, and I think the national chain dailies and even chain weeklies could take a look at the newspapers that are doing well and take a lesson.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he wants to read a newspaper that is interesting, thought-provoking and that covers news he can't get on Yahoo! two days ago. There is still plenty to be covered, especially as the big boys cut back and continue to blame the Internet, rather than to improve content and quality.
The issue of giving away our content is a thorny one, especially for a free newspaper, but it's one that is going to have to be dealt with soon. Clearly the 'Net doesn't bring in the kind of bucks we can get for readership in print, and Google and others make a pretty penny on our sweat. The question is would it make sense for a free newspaper to charge for online content -- essentially to charge for the conviencence of not having to go out and get a Gambit or Lagniappe? That may be a question for another day, but it's one that needs to be answered in the not-too-distant future.
We too have had a good year in this recession. Not a great year like last year, but a year of continued growth. I like to think it's the result of a number of great stories and routinely intriguing articles that had people talking.
Gambit, glad to see you're still doing well. Look forward to reading you again next time I'm in the Big Easy. Keep doing what you've always done and I don't think you'll have a lot of trouble.
Other newspapers could take a lesson.
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