Just in case the Ambien you were prescribed is working now and you’re finally getting some sleep instead of worrying about all the new challenges facing our business…let’s look at one more and find out how effective the Ambien really is. Here’s a quote from the beginning of this article: “If local newspaper, yellow pages, radio or local TV companies thought that Google, Yahoo, eBay and craigslist were disruptive, they are now going to face down a competitor that will have an even bigger impact on their businesses than any one of those companies did.” That competitor is the location-based marketing made possible by mobile phones. Articles like this one predict the impact on urban and suburban markets more than rural ones, but we all know that urban phenomena soon spread to smaller cities and towns. This is one we’ll have to keep tabs on.
Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, recently spoke at a meeting I attended and shared a PowerPoint presentation I thought you’d be interested in. Al has graciously shared that with us. Look it over – it has some information that can be helpful with you as you make presentations about the overall health of community newspapers – and some information your ad reps need to have to share with customers who have questions about the effectiveness of a newspaper ad buy.
Copyeditor-types, if you just can’t find someone to engage in a deep discussion of comma splices and arcane points of word usage, check out this weekly column online from The New York Times. There’s enough there every week to delight you and bore the pants off anyone around you. And if that still doesn’t satisfy, check out writing coach Roy Peter Clark’s fascinating new book, The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. Fascinating book – you’ll agree when you read the Times’ interview with Roy at http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/stray-questions-for-roy-peter-clark/?ref=review.
Some newspapers and online news sites trying “news cafes” – sending reporters to coffee shops to interact with patrons. The model is a little different everywhere, but basically reporters go into a coffee shop with the permission of the proprietors and set up shop. They write, phone, do interviews. One even has a sign that says “the journalist is in.” The idea is to make the paper and its reporters accessible, to demystify the news process, and to connect with readers. The Poynter story has lots of hyperlinks to various places that are trying this, if you want to get more information on how it works.
Check out this story in All Cross’s rural journalism blog in Kentucky. It reports research from Kansas on rural grocery stores, many of which are closing because of the competition from nearby big-box stores, among other factors. If you have seen a trend like this in your area, click on the link above — it’ll take you to Al’s story and his link to the Kansas study about grocery stores in the Midwest. You’ll have all the background (and sources, if you want to call the researcher in Kansas) you need to do a story if you’re seeing this trend yourself.