“The newspapers are failing, the newspapers are failing,” Chicken Little shouted.
Not so fast my little bird-brained friend.
It is not uncommon for representatives of The Sun News to get questions from the public along the lines of: “Hey, aren’t you going out of business?”
Hey, not by a long shot.
It’s true that advertising revenues have shrunk at news operations everywhere amid the slo-mo economic recovery, and the timing of that shrinkage came just as digital technology was spurring a hyperspeed evolution of the way news is delivered.
But while that might sound bad, fatal even, especially when you hear Chicken Littles touting our demise everywhere, even on late-night comedy shows, it just isn’t so.
Yes, it has been painful; change often is, especially change combined with an historic economic slowdown. And yes, news companies including this one have made painful cuts. Some news groups have reduced the number of days they deliver a printed product, others have gone to online-only coverage and still others across the country have actually ceased publication.
But monumental change in an industry can mean monumental opportunities and that’s the challenge The Sun News and others have readily accepted.
We are changing the way we do business, deliver news and even make money. More revenue comes these days from digital advertising, which will only grow as more businesses recognize the opportunities that abound as ever more readers, especially those in that consumer-friendly 18-to-24 demographic, turn to tablets and smart phones for information.
In fact our reach, to use the news biz lingo, is far greater than ever before. These days our readers are more numerous than ever before. Our most recent online statistics showed that last week we had more than 217,000 unique visitors, which is basically web-speak for how many different people access a Web site. And that doesn’t include the numbers of those who have the paper delivered each day or who buy it from a rack or store.
Our newsroom is still seeking the perfect balance between the demands of keeping up with breaking news online and producing the kinds of exclusive in-depth reporting, investigative work, and photojournalism that you expect and deserve from The Sun News.
There is no either/or option in that equation. Coverage must include both in order for us, and any news organization these days, to provide readers online and in print with the kind of information they need to make smart decisions in their own lives and in the challenges facing their communities.
Do we always get the balance right? No. Are we always trying to do so? Absolutely. So don’t stop letting us know when we fall short and when we do the right thing.
And when Chicken Little comes fluttering around, tell him he hasn’t got a clue.
Newspapers have long recognized the important role they can play in education, and that won’t change in the digital future. In fact, it becomes even more important for the next generation to be aware of the challenges facing their world and the role they can play in solving them.
That’s the theory behind the Newspapers in Education program, “a cooperative effort of newspapers and local schools designed to enhance learning through the use of the newspaper and to promote literacy,” as noted on MyrtleBeachOnline.com.
The program, which provides access to coverage in The Sun News, offers ways to use the news for all subjects in elementary, middle and high school. Local businesses, organizations and individuals sponsor the programs for area classrooms.
If you are a teacher, or want to participate as a sponsor, call 626-0247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact CAROLYN CALLISON MURRAY at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at TSN_ccmurray.