Thursday, October 25, 2012
Keeping up with change
I’ve adapted to technology over the years, but I’m no tech guru by any means.
My wife Pam bought me an iPhone a year or so ago. I was perfectly happy with my “old-timey” cell phone.
She and my children gave me an iPad for Christmas last year. I will admit I love it.
I use it for everything from keeping up with news from my native Alabama to watching movies.
And it also appears that I will have to purchase my 10-year-old daughter Erin one or something similar this Christmas. I can’t get her off of mine. I think she prefers the wide array of games.
I was thinking the other day about my days in the early ’90s of driving back and forth from Amory to Aberdeen when I was publisher there and communicating via one of those “bag phones.”
It’s all rather amazing – how far we’ve come.
The same holds true for my progression in the newspaper business when it comes to technology.
Just a few weeks ago, The South Reporter launched its eEdition. An exact replica of the printed version of the newspaper can now be read via your computer or iPad – with a subscription.
We made the eEdition available for free the first few weeks, giving our readers a chance to experiment. The response was overwhelming. More than 1,100 gave it a look.
Since going to paid access only to the eEdition just a couple of weeks ago, the interest continues. Our first eEdition-only subscribers have signed up using PayPal, plus several print subscribers have entered their information via our website – www.southreporter.com – so they can also receive the eEdition. Others have purchased $1 passes for one week’s edition.
Trust me, when I was in high school learning to type, on an electric typewriter, I had no concept of where the newspaper business would be today.
We talk about it often here at the office.
We still have our “layout tables” from when The South Reporter staff designed the newspaper pages on big sheets by hand.
We often talk about our days working all day and into the wee hours of the next morning to get the newspaper to press. The process was much slower back then.
When I got my first full-time newspaper job out of college, I would often finish working on the paper about 3 a.m. on Wednesday, go home and sleep a few hours and then hit a delivery route.
I’ve done that a few times as editor/publisher, too, over the years, but those days have lessened, thanks to good help and technology.
Bottom line, with all of this change over the years – quality community newspapers are not going anywhere.
And from what I’ve experienced with all this change, the local folks will always prefer putting that printed newspaper in their hands – as long as we’re giving them a good product.
A few weeks ago we had one of the highest circulation weeks since I’ve been at The South Reporter (11 years).
Lots of our dedicated readers continue to get their paper “hot off the press” at our office Wednesday mornings. Readers continue to make us refill our racks. And they continue to renew their mail subscriptions, on a yearly basis. Plus, we are picking up new subscribers, too.
And now, some want the eEdition, too.
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