With the economy struggling like it is, combined with the unique struggles of the newspaper industry in general, now does not the seem like the right time to get into the business.
Newspaper companies are merging—or folding altogether—and news coverage is becoming less and less local as a result. As the local coverage receives even less focus than before, the more general coverage that remains competes with other forms of content, such as the Internet, TV and radio. This places more negative pressure on traditional newspapers, forcing them to cut back even further, which continues the cycle of getting away from local coverage.
In the face of all of that negativity, why would someone choose now as a time to get into the newspaper business?
As someone who just did—on Friday I completed the purchase of Kaneland Publications Inc., the publisher of the Elburn Herald—let me give you my reason for doing so: Independent, local, community newspapers are more vital now than ever before.
It is because of that shift away from local coverage that the need for a community newspaper is bigger now than ever before. It is because media outlets have been merging and/or folding at obscene rates that the need for an independent newspaper to remain out of a corporate entity’s hands is vital.
No one is served well if, when you want to read about your community, your school or your hometown, you have to turn to something created by a group of people more focused on what goes on in their distant, corporate board room than what goes on in your village hall, or ballfield, or church, or stage.
When corporate media companies treat individual newspapers merely like assets and entire newspaper staffs like commodities to be traded among those assets, it is the communities themselves that suffer. It is the communities themselves that are weakened when no newspaper exists that is really focused on helping strengthen those bonds that help transform a group of homes and buildings into a hometown.
A vibrant community newspaper can help transform the place in which you live into your hometown in much the same way as you can transform your house into your home: by caring about it more than anyone else and paying attention to everything, from the things that are wonderful just as they are to the things that need to be worked on.
An independent, community newspaper does the same thing—it truly cares by writing about the things that are wonderful as well as the things that aren’t so great; sharing the joys of success and the frustrations of struggles.
All of the things we produce in the Elburn Herald are designed to help better connect each of you with our Kaneland communities; and I am honored to have the chance to share in all of the joys and frustrations, triumphs and tragedies, with each of you—like we have been doing since well before I first came here in 1997, and for the rest of my career.
I am humbled by the idea that the Cooper family trusted me enough with their family’s legacy to give me the opportunity to create a new chapter in the 103-year book of history at the Elburn Herald, and I am motivated to ensure that we remain true to the mission to serve our communities to the best of our abilities, each and every day.
I hope you will help us write this next chapter together.
The Elburn Herald