August 10, 2009

AP: Community papers doing pretty well

AP is the latest to weigh in on the meme that community papers, with less competition in their markets, are still doing pretty well.

"CNN is not coming to my town to cover the news and there aren't a whole lot of bloggers here either," said Robert M. Williams Jr., editor and publisher of The Blackshear Times in Georgia, about 75 miles from Jacksonville, Fla. "Community newspapers are still a great investment because we provide something you can't get anywhere else."

The AP also says that while larger newsrooms were cutting, an Inland Press study found smaller newsrooms spending more in 2008 than 2004.

But the recession has still hurt, with the small papers' revenue down 20%.

Jeff Ackerman, publisher of The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., says it well:

"Too many newspapers have been operating in an ivory tower for too long," said Ackerman, whose newspaper is based in a county with a population of about 100,000. "I answer my own phone. Some newspapers are just now trying to develop relationships with the local communities they cover. Ours has been going on for 144 years."

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