Remind news readers what they’re getting

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National Newspaper Week, Oct. 7-13, 2012

By Steve Key

National Newspaper Week – running Oct. 7-13 – offers an opportunity for newspapers to promote the benefits they bring to their communities.

We’ve all seen the gloom-and-doom stories about the viability of newspapers, and so have your readers. Newspapers should take advantage of a week of recognition to remind readers that you have no intention of going anywhere and look forward to serving them far into the future.

To assist you in making a splash during National Newspaper Week, HSPA is sponsoring materials created by the Newspaper Association Managers for your use.

The downloadable kit includes:

• Logo expressing the theme “Newspapers – The Cornerstone of Your Community”

• Crossword and word search puzzle

• Editorial cartoon

• Four columns – “A bright future lies ahead for newspapers,” “Newspapers: Legal documents that protect citizens ‘beyond a shadow of doubt’,” “Your newspaper will be there for you,” and “Local newspapers connect us with our communities.”

Download the free materials at http://www.nationalnewspaperweek.com.  

Of course, you can sup­plement the package with stories, editorials, etc., that you create.

As noted elsewhere in this issue, 65 percent of publishers surveyed by the Reynolds Journalism Institute expressed optimism about the future of the newspaper industry.

You wouldn’t know it from the perception of our industry.

We need to toot our own horns.

Look at your situation.

Other than through a news­paper, is there any way some­one in your community can have all the following infor­mation pre­sented to them in one easy-to-use package?

• Coverage of local government units

•Obituaries

• High school sports

• Church and civic organization news

• Grocery store ads

• Retail business sales information

• Election news

• Opinions and letters to the editor

• Business news.

Remind your readers and those who don’t subscribe what they are getting or missing.

Do this with promo boxes of upcoming stories displayed in either your print or online products.

Let readers know how much money they could save if they use all the coupons included in advertising (inserts, run of press and web) tied to your newspaper.

I’m sure it more than covers the single-copy cost of the newspaper.

Remind them what news coverage means to the communities’ well being. I loved a recent Indianapolis Star ad outlining reporter John Russell’s work un­raveling a cozy relationship between the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission and Duke Energy.

The ad copy started like this: 1 tip, 23 records requests … and finished with more than $300 million saved for ratepayers.

I urge you to participate in National Newspaper Week and remind your community of the benefits of subscribing to your newspaper. If you can’t make an argument for the value of your newspaper, who else will?

Steve Key is executive director and general counsel for HSPA.