PAINTER: A bright future for digital and print journalism

Dec 14, 2011

We’re reading stories all the time about newspapers making drastic cuts in staffing and reducing the number of days they publish.

Our neighbors to the north — The Muskegon Chronicle — recently announced it is reorganizing and will no longer be delivering newspapers seven days a week, beginning in 2012. Newspaper staffers also have been asked to reapply for their jobs.

Larger daily newspapers have been hit hard by advertising and circulation losses.

Newspapers are now focusing more on other means of delivering the news, such as social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Breaking news can now be sent to your smartphone. Advertising can also be sent to your phone.

Newspapers, in general, have been struggling with trying to regain readership. Many newspaper readers are older people who grew up reading newspapers. Their parents read newspapers. They love newspapers.

However, as the Internet became more prevalent in our lives, newspaper readership began to decline. We’re told that young people “get their news (for free) on the Internet.” There’s truth in that. If there is a major breaking news story, I go to the Internet to read about.

The digital media is going to play an important role in journalism. Reporters can now place breaking news stories on our website or send them to your smart- phone. Readers can get election results immediately from our website.

Newspapers have tried hard to overcome the impact of the Internet — such as offering more in-depth news stories and writing stories that are more relevant to the readers. Nothing seems to be working for the larger newspapers. Circulation keeps declining.

But that doesn’t mean the end is near for newspapers.

The Grand Haven Tribune last week announced that it plans to restructure its operations to better meet business needs.

Those plans include promoting other products that are part of Lighthouse Media, the new name for Grand Haven Publishing Co.

But there is no need to worry about the future of your hometown newspaper.

Publisher Kevin Hook emphasized that there are no plans to reduce publishing days or the number of days the newspaper is delivered to homes.

The Grand Haven Tribune is going to continue to be the Grand Haven Tribune.

Small daily newspapers have a niche in our society. Sure, they’ve been hit with advertising and circulation losses.

But they’ve also been able to weather the storm by restructuring, as has been done by the Grand Haven Tribune.

Our readers are still going to find out what’s happening in their community on a daily basis. Our reporters are going to be working hard to find out the things that you need to know.

The small daily newspaper plays an important role in a community. Where else can you read about your neighbor’s kid excelling in the classroom or in athletics? Where else can you read about weddings, anniversaries and special events in the community?

I’ve been fortunate to have worked on several small daily newspapers that emphasize local news. The Grand Haven Tribune is perhaps the best of them.

Yes, the Tribune and other small newspapers are going to play important roles in digital media. Our website will only get better under the restructuring plan.

The newspaper and digital media, though, can complement each other

The Grand Haven Tribune will do just fine. We have a dedicated and hard-working staff that will ensure that the Grand Haven Tribune is something you will want to have in your homes. You can count on it.
 

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