In every editorial newspaper, there must be a 50% ad to 50% editorial ratio. In other words, the editor can only insert as many articles as there are ads (in inches). In most other cities, this is quite easy. In Winslow, the advertising public is a bit different. I've heard comments like, "Nobody reads your paper" and "Your paper is so small". There is a reason that it is so small, and that is because our town doesn't understand how important their newspaper is to this community.
There is a staff of four people in this office who produce two publications every week. There is only one reporter who does her very best to cover every event that she is invited to cover. She covers city events and meetings, our schools, business openings and events and more each week. She covers all of these events and writes neutral articles to inform the public. We pay a reporter to report on topics that she knows about. Of course, she isn't psychic so you must let her know about upcoming events well in advance. Yet, most of these entities don't do their part and advertise so that their coverage is guaranteed to appear in the newspaper.
I'm not saying that you must pay for an article in the paper, but we must have the space to run everything that we cover, and that space can only come from ads. Along with covering events, the newspaper is a free venue for which the public can voice their opinions in the form of letters to the editor. Why pay to have your voice heard, when we devote a whole page to hear your opinion? Letters to the editor open a dialog (not a paid argument) within a community. That is where a newspaper's cycle begins. When there is a great dialog occurring in the newspaper, more people read the paper. When more people read the paper, advertisers are more likely to market their products and services. When we have more advertising, we can produce a bigger and better paper. It all starts with you‹the public!
I grew up in a small town with only one newspaper. You could learn anything you wanted to know about the town, the people and events in the articles. You could also find out about restaurant specials, what's on special at the local grocer and what auto repair shop had the best price on an oil change. All of that information could be found in ads. Everyone advertised in the newspaper because they knew how important the newspaper was. There is only one newspaper in Winslow, too!
When visitors come to town, most of them look for the local newspaper. Some of these visitors may be looking for a new place to live. How are they really going to know what a great place Winslow is to live if they aren't able to read a dialog from the community? How are they going to know about the low cost of living here if they don't see advertisements from local businesses? How are they going to find a place to live if there aren't rentals or houses for sale in the classifieds? These are all things that belong in the newspaper!
How do we expect this town to grow if we don't grow? Part of growing up is expressing our opinions at appropriate times in appropriate venues.