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Closer to home: Health of newspaper largely depends on ownership model
Closer to home: Health of newspaper largely depends on ownership model

Continuing a practice begun in late 2014, I contacted newspaper publishers, CEOs, owners and other top management throughout the U.S. and Canada to get information about the state of their newspapers. After a week, I've received just shy of 800 responses. I suspect that number will increase even more by the time I finish summarizing all the information.

Interestingly, this particular survey had the best response of any I've conducted. Papers of all sizes and types are represented in statistically reliable numbers. There are plenty of metro dailies, as well as tiny weeklies, and everything in between. Even a few monthly and online-only publications took part.

Read on to learn what was most interesting to me.

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Dancing with the one who brung me: Answering questions from readers
Dancing with the one who brung me: Answering questions from readers

An editor in South Carolina wrote to me yesterday, "I'm always amazed at your productivity."

I get that a lot these days. Since yesterday, I've written an opinion piece that's already filling my inbox with responses from readers; my fictional weekly serial, The Good Folks of Lennox Valley; and my alarm just reminded me that I'm on deadline to write my column for newspaper professionals.

Looking over my email, I noticed there has been an increase in the number of folks asking for technical advice over the past few weeks. Perhaps work slowed down a bit over the holidays, allowing people more time to write.

Whatever the reason, I've always believed in "dancing with the one who brung ya," so it seems like a good time to answer some questions from readers.

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In 2015, I visited a lot of Successful Papers
In 2015, I visited a lot of Successful Papers

I don't have to spend very long at a newspaper office to tell you how they're doing in terms of circulation, readership, ad sales and profits. No one has to tell me. There are qualities that lead to successful newspapers, and without them it's a good bet that there are some problems in one or more of those four areas.

I could have listed fifty newspapers in this column, because I ran into a lot of papers that are doing things right in 2015. And it's showing in their numbers. Due to space limitations, here are a few that stood out in my memory.

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The best word to describe Minnesota Newspapers: PHENOMENAL
The best word to describe Minnesota Newspapers: PHENOMENAL

I got out the dusty thesaurus and found a synonym that best describes the newspapers in Minnesota: phenomenal. That's the best word I know of to describe the trip I just took to Minnesota. Yes, that's right, Minnesota.

I've worked with more than 100 papers in Minnesota this year. I know, that's a lot of papers. And there is something that's very apparent as I crisscross the frozen tundra (OK, tundra might be a stretch) of Minnesota, visiting papers from McGregor to Pipestone to Preston: newspapers in Minnesota are doing really well. That truth was never more apparent to me than in late October, when I visited papers in the central and western areas of the state.

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Dead at Deadline!
Dead at Deadline!

The email came to me at 6:15 last night, just as I was getting ready to take my two teenagers out for dinner. It was from Joe, a publisher at a small weekly who, like many newspaper publishers, has become my good friend over the past 20 years.

Before I tell you more about the email, let's step back in time to yesterday afternoon when I mentioned to some folks in my office that I needed to come up with a topic for today's column. A couple of ideas were tossed around when, finally, I said, "Don't worry. Something will come up. It always does."

I just didn't know that "something" would be my friend, Joe.

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Newspaper Hall of Fame unveiled July 17
Newspaper Hall of Fame unveiled July 17

The Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame celebrated its opening on Friday, July 17, 2015. It was a glorious evening, filled with a celebration fit for the industry it represents.

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Adobe Bridge: There's a surge in interest
Adobe Bridge: There's a surge in interest

Last week, I spent a day with a weekly newspaper in Eastern Ohio. I even took a pic of the big building shaped like a basket to prove it. After lunch, the publisher asked something I've heard quite often in my visits with 100-plus newspapers this year, "Could you take a little time to teach us some things about Bridge?"

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Top four reasons some newspapers aren't having a good year
Top four reasons some newspapers aren't having a good year

With so many newspapers reporting a really good year, why are there still newspapers who aren't? I thought about this as I drove to the airport this morning (the roads are pretty clear at 2 a.m. in Sioux Falls, making it safe to think while driving) and came up with what I'm calling: 


My top four reasons 
some newspapers aren't 
having a great year

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Thinking about your newspaper's future
Thinking about your newspaper's future
Dr. Hildreth spoke for no more than five minutes, but I’ll never forget what he said. “You should know,” he began, “that most of what you’ve learned in your time as a student is wrong.” He had my attention as he continued, “But that’s OK. The most important thing you’ve learned at this university is how to think.”

I couldn’t help but think of all the speakers and teachers I’ve had over the years.

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More statistics from latest publisher survey
More statistics from latest publisher survey
The primary reason I continue to collect data and survey newspaper managers is to help my newspaper colleagues. Several times, over the last few weeks, I’ve received requests for advice from publishers who, after looking over data from a recent survey, found the answer they were looking for.

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Growing Newspapers: They're popping up everywhere
Growing Newspapers: They're popping up everywhere
I saw a story about a daily newspaper for sale a couple of days ago. Almost as a side note, it was mentioned that the paper had a profit in the 20 to 25 percent range. And why was it for sale? Apparently, that wasn’t enough for the giant corporation that owns it. So, it’s for sale.
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Print Back in Fashion: I keep running into new papers
Print Back in Fashion: I keep running into new papers
Surely you read the comments of Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world’s largest advertising group, as well as highest paid CEO in Europe, concerning newspaper advertising. In April, he said that print media is more powerful than agencies believe and advised advertisers to spend more in print.
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Texans Eager to Learn: Vernon, Texas
Texans Eager to Learn: Vernon, Texas
When I walk into a newsroom for the first time, there’s always a moment of hesitation as I gauge how prepared the group is for my visit. I’m normally greeted with one of two emotions: either, “Who are you and why are you here,” or “We have been waiting for you!”
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Interesting Findings From Recent Publishers Survey
Interesting Findings From Recent Publishers Survey
The primary reason I continue to collect data and survey newspaper managers is to help my newspaper colleagues. Several times, over the last few weeks, I’ve received requests for advice from publishers who, after looking over data from a recent survey, found the answer they were looking for.
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Adobe InCopy is just the ticket for Tennessee paper
Adobe InCopy is just the ticket for Tennessee paper
In the midst of my busiest year ever, Dale Gentry, publisher of The Standard-Banner in Jefferson City, Tennessee, called to ask if I could find time to visit his newspaper. Less than an hour away from my office, I’ve visited Dale’s staff numerous times over the past 20 years and there was no way I was going to say, “no.”

So between trips to Edmonton, Alberta and Preston, Minnesota, I found an afternoon to spend with the staff of the Standard-Banner. The request from Dale was simple enough: “Can you teach us to use InCopy?”

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Newspapers: I love all of them, but my heart is with the small ones
Newspapers: I love all of them, but my heart is with the small ones
I guess I might as well change my permanent address to “Midwest,” following more than a dozen scheduled visits to Iowa and Minnesota during February, March and April. People began to ask with frequency, “Why don’t you schedule your visits to Minnesota (or Iowa or Canada) in the summer?”

My most common response is, “I need a new manager.” I suppose the honest answer is that I go when I’m asked and people in the coldest areas are practical jokers or they just seem to need me more in the winter and early spring.

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Young People Don't Read Papers...or do they?
Young People Don't Read Papers...or do they?
What if the professor is right? What if young people really don’t read print anymore? Could I be wrong? Could the studies be wrong? After all, a lot of journalism professors I run into seem to think that print is dead. And so do most of the people I know who sell online services. Maybe they’re all right. Maybe young people do not read news in print anymore.
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Deadline Driven!
Deadline Driven!
I planned to start on this column four hours ago, but the phone started ringing. Karen, who emailed late last night, needed my help to get an ad to print correctly in her paper. How could I not take care of that first thing? Jim called from another state to get my advice about a publisher’s job he’s been offered.

You know the drill. We work in a deadline-driven business. We get it done. No matter how busy we are or what is already on our plates, we get it done.

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Mirror-Exchange Agrees: Paid newspapers are doing just fine, thank you very much
Mirror-Exchange Agrees: Paid newspapers are doing just fine, thank you very much
Hank Bond, co-publisher of The Greenup Beacon (Russell KY), wrote last week to ask me a pointed question, “You keep writing about people saying that newspapers are dying. I don’t hear it. Who are they?”

Well, Hank, here’s another one to add to the list of about a dozen or so I sent you last week and those were off the top of my head. As Hank would probably attest, he finally said, “Enough!”

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Epoch Times Agrees: Free papers are doing very well, thank you very much
Epoch Times Agrees: Free papers are doing very well, thank you very much
I sometimes write a column twice, for different audiences. This version of my column on Robert Kaiser's essay includes statistics from free newspapers across North America.

And just so you know, there's happy ending.

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Don’t forget about Bridge: One of Adobe’s most useful tools
Don’t forget about Bridge: One of Adobe’s most useful tools
I have to admit: I’m as much to blame as anyone. Honestly, I figured everyone was already using Adobe Bridge, so I’ve not put much effort into teaching Bridge tools at workshops and classes over the past few years.

Longtime photo editors remember the Browser from versions of Photoshop prior to CS2. Since then, Bridge has been included in all Creative Suite/Cloud packages and also with stand-alone Adobe Photoshop.

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PDFs, Lines & Problems: Answering Readers' Questions
PDFs, Lines & Problems: Answering Readers' Questions
Readers have been asking what I think about The Times-Picayune adding two print delivery days - that’s back up to five days a week delivery - plus returning to a full broadsheet page. Our industry must be in a free-fall. Or is it?

My dilemma doesn’t revolve around those things, however. I promised to pen a question/answer column this month and I keep my promises.

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Hmm: Adobe Cloud. Should I or shouldn’t I?
Hmm: Adobe Cloud. Should I or shouldn’t I?
I know it’s confusing. But I don’t get a dime from Adobe, so I have no reason to mislead you.

Here’s my official advice. Take it for what it’s worth.

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Convention attendances improves in 2014
Convention attendances improves in 2014
A colleague just walked into my office with a big grin on his face.

“At the risk of making your head grow any bigger, I thought I’d show this to you.”

He was holding a copy of The Oklahoma Publisher, the official publication of the Oklahoma Press Association.

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Remote office becomes reality for Wisconsin pubs
Remote office becomes reality for Wisconsin pubs
Like many newspapers, Delta’s publications go through the hands of multiple editors and designers before they go to press. And like in many production offices, fonts were an issue. Even though each of the computers seemingly had the same fonts on each computer, InDesign would pop up the dreaded “Font not loaded” message on a regular basis when a file created on one computer was opened on another.

The second challenge was a bit more interesting. Mike mentioned that producing their publications would be much more efficient if he, along with others who sometimes worked away from the office, could connect to the office network from remote locations. He went a little further than that. Not only did they want to connect to their servers, they wanted to be able to work from home or wherever exactly the same way they did back at the office.

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 95
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