Community newspapers still thriving

Published 8:00 am Sunday, January 20, 2013

Change is inevitable.

Sometimes it’s not the most desirable of feelings, but nonetheless, it happens.

I’ve resisted the urge to write about the changes currently going on at the newspaper since we were purchased by the Boone Corporation in December, but I’ve had so many people ask questions and make comments that I think I should say a few words.

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First of all, the newspaper isn’t closing.

That’s been the most asked question.

In fact, community newspapers like The Daily Leader are holding their own and are profitable. Why would one of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett, continue to invest in small community newspapers if they weren’t profitable?

Bottom line is the newspaper is a business just like any other business in town. It needs to turn a profit in order to pay its bills.

A lot of people view the newspaper as a service organization. And on that point they are correct. We do provide a service to the community. Where else are you going to read about your local government, local schools, engagements, weddings or Little League ballgames?

But again, we are still a business and there are employees to be paid, utilities to keep on, supplies to purchase and so on.

Newspapers are run on revenue generated by our advertisers. The ads that are run in the paper on a daily basis and in our special sections and magazines help us keep the lights on.

Some people mistakenly think that their monthly or yearly subscription price pays for the newspaper. It doesn’t. And at 50 cents a day, a newspaper is still a very good deal for all of the information it brings to you.

Although I’m not privy to all financial aspects of the paper, the fact it was sold at this point in time probably had little to do with profitability and was probably more of a personal decision for Bill Jacobs, the previous owner.

The fact that the Boone Corporation invested their money in The Daily Leader says that all is not dead. The fact that our new publisher is moving his family from Texas to Brookhaven, also tells me that the newspaper industry isn’t dead. They all see a promising future for our local newspaper, as do I.

Is it all going to be easy? No. Changes needed to be made to remain profitable. Are there hard decisions our publisher has had to make? Yes.

Is Boone bringing in all new management to run the newspaper. No. The only new face at the newspaper is our publisher/president, Rick Reynolds.

Many of the same faces that have become recognizable with the newspaper are still here. A few are not. Unfortunately, that’s what change brings sometimes.

Like other businesses, the newspaper has had to go through some reorganization.

The economy has been hard for everyone, including our advertisers.

I can’t say how many times I’ve heard local retail businesses preach “shop at home.” It’s the same for the newspaper. In addition to subscribers, local businesses have to support us in order for us to stay in business.

What I will say is the newspaper industry is changing and we will have to change with it in order to stay viable.

Nowadays we have to compete with upstart glossy page magazines, the Internet, radio and TV.

But at the end of the day when you sit down after supper, where do you turn to get news about your community? Facebook? The Internet? Television?

Newspapers aren’t gossip tabloid magazines. Community newspapers, like ours, check sources and if we can’t confirm information with a reliable source that piece of information isn’t printed. Can you say that about Facebook or the Internet?

The recent rumors of the newspaper’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

We’ve been in business for more than 129 years. We’re still viable and strong, and we’re still here to serve the community. You’re still going to read about local people, the community, schools and local government.

Just because things change doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be bad.

Change for the newspaper was inevitable.

Continue to support your local newspaper. Those of us who work here and those who subscribe faithfully and read the newspaper will greatly appreciate it.

And how was your week?

Lifestyles Editor Tammie Brewer can be reached at The DAILY LEADER at 601-833-6961 ext. 134, by email at or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602.