On the ride to Berlin this morning I was listening to NHPR, and I heard an story on the success of local newspapers. It gave me hope that the Berlin Reporter, and even the local daily, can survive and thrive. I have received a fair bit of positive feedback (and a little negative as well) about the Reporter’s coverage of the area. Like Berlin, the paper has to provide a quality product to attract people. In our case it’s advertisers, the basis of the newspaper business model. The stories I’ve been covering hopefully are the kind of local coverage people are looking for, the kind the NPR story was talking about communities celebrating. Is the Reporter thriving financially? I have no idea. There is supposed to be a firewall between the editorial side of the paper and the advertising side of the paper; at the Reporter, it’s more of an ocean than a firewall. Because I basically work out on my own, with direction from my editor, I hear less than nothing from that side of the business. But I feel like the coverage has been well received and maybe a breath of fresh air in the city.
As far as I can tell, people are reading the paper. Some don’t like it, but more hopefully do. I trust all those who are reading it are buying it (come on, it’s only 50 cents!) and/or advertising in it. The local paper is invaluable to the development of a community, and its was good to hear they are at community papers are surviving. I feel I’m doing good work for Berlin, and I’d hate to see that work disappear.
So go down to the corner store and buy a Berlin Reporter. If you live out of town get a subscription. If you like this blog buy a paper, because if the Reporter were to close I’d have a lot less to write about. (I’d probably make it up to Berlin a lot less to, which would be a shame.) The paper fills a different niche than the daily, and both are valuable to the community. The NY Times wrote about how some major cities may soon lose all their daily papers. Berlin is lucky to have the strong newspapers it does.
Maybe there is a future for both the Reporter and Berlin in the 21st century. I hope so.
Disclaimer: I have probably screwed up a bunch as the Reporter’s reporter, misquoting and misrepresenting people in all sorts of ways. I said valuable, not infallible.