By Tim Timmons
Christmas is still a few weeks away, but you know how we are with deadlines in the newspaper industry.
So I’d like to send this year’s wish list to Santa a tad early.
Santa, I’d like to think that us newspaper types have mostly been good this year.
Heck, we’ve been so busy trying to find classified revenue, retail revenue, pre-print revenue and subscribers that we haven’t really had much time to be bad. That has to count for something, right?
OK, maybe not.
But if you think we’ve done OK, I sure would appreciate it if you could find some room in that big ol’ sleigh of yours for a few things.
First, revenue. It doesn’t matter if it comes under new, old or in-between categories, Santa. It’s just that we could all use some.
Oh, it’s not as bad as it seems for most of us.
The thing is, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in newspapers or retail or restaurants, business is harder, a lot harder than it used to be.
Right after revenue, it’d be great to get some jobs back. An awful lot of good folks have lost theirs, and some growth in our business would be just about the best present anyone could get.
Next thing on the list, Santa … how about a Pulitzer for an Indiana newspaper?
It’s been awhile since one graced the Hoosier state. (By the way, Santa, did you know Indiana’s first newspaper, the Indiana Gazette, was published in Vincennes in 1804? Just trying to keep you up to date on our state’s history.)
Anyway, like I was saying, it’s been awhile. The Indianapolis Star won a Pulitzer in the 1970s, the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel won in the 1980s, and The Star won again in the ’90s.
Seems like it’s time again … I’m just saying. (Oh, another history thing Santa. The Indianapolis Times won one in 1928.)
Look Santa, I know you’re busy and I’m just rambling, but I’ve got one more thing to ask.
I don’t know if you can fit it in that bag or even how to find it, but could you maybe bring along some believin’?
I’m sure there’s a better word, Santa, but what we really need is to believe in what we do again. A lot of folks do, but some could sure use a booster shot.
But with all this talk about the Internet and iPads and Droids and such … well, it kind of makes you wonder, you know?
We hear that no one reads us anymore. We hear that we’re dying.
But the thing is Santa, newspapers have done a lot of good in communities all over this state.
When it gets right down to it, we are the community in more places than we’re not.
We report when people are born, make the honor roll, go to college, get engaged and married, and later when they die.
Cradle to grave coverage, Santa.
The school sports, the 4-H, the local government, the bowling results. It’s a pretty long list, and we’re pretty darn good at it.
Maybe we just need to be reminded of those things.
I know it’s a lot bigger of an issue than I can solve.
But you, Santa?
You could toss a little of that believin’ stuff in our stockings.
And just in case you’re wondering if you should or not … let’s not forget that you and us, we’ve been in that same boat for a while now with the doubters.
And don’t forget that it was a newspaper, not an Indiana one but a newspaper nonetheless, that in 1897 wrote, “Virginia, your little friends are wrong … Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
Yes, Santa, newspapers are still alive and well.
Thanks, Santa. I’ll leave the milk and cookies in the usual place.
Tim Timmons is publisher of The Paper of Montgomery County (Crawfordsville) and The Times (Noblesville) and president of the HSPA board of directors.