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Newspapers are alive and well

Most mornings I would rather gently wake up to music or morning radio personality's chatter than an annoying buzzing or beeping alarm that can easily start me out in a foul mood.

But several months ago I was in the half-awake state when the radio personality made a comment that newspapers are dead. That off-the-cuff comment made my blood boil. If newspapers were dead, I wouldn't be sitting at my computer in the production department writing my column and you, dear readers, wouldn't be reading this in print or on the internet.

The internet did not kill newspapers, nor do I think it will replace them. There is something to be said about actually holding and paging through the printed newsprint. Perhaps it is a tactile pleasure sensation set in a real time that is anchored to our past.

It is the newspaper reporters/photographers who cover the community happenings, along with the community themselves who submit information to the newspaper. It is a huge network of newspaper staff that upload the internet with news. Often, local television and radio report on what newspaper reporters covered in the first place.

A random thought, if a newspaper died where would you find its obituary?

The recession hit businesses pretty hard so some cut their advertising. Newspapers rely on businesses advertising to pay their staff, meet expenses and bring the news to the readers.

But things are changing. This week I read a column by Kevin Slimp, a national newspaper consultant who reports that the gloom and doom is lifting off the newspaper industry. Things are looking up. Community papers are doing well because they meet the needs of their readers.

One recent addition to the Pioneer Journal is the Penny Pincher promotion. Businesses who are not regular advertisers can give a product or service in trade for advertising. The general public can buy certificates from the Pioneer Journal office for the product or service for a fraction of the cost. That in turn brings more customers through the local businesses doors, hopefully buying more product and services. The advertisers receive advertising credit from the sold certificates so they can advertise more to promote more products or services. The more advertising we receive, the more pages we can print which brings more articles to the public increasing the value of our product. It is a simple idea that probably won't bring handfuls of money into the Pioneer Journal, but it creates a rapport with the local businesses, with customers and readers. It is about meeting the needs of our community. It is about change and how one small idea can creates a positive chain reaction.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Pioneer Journal editor/publisher Steve Schulz found other employment. His last day was Friday, April 20. We wish him well and will miss him terribly. But the good news is Dain Sullivan from the Forum Communications owned Dickinson Press has been hired to fill Steve's shoes. He is young and has a heart for newspapers.

We welcome Dain to our PJ family.

By the way, radio man, newspapers are alive and well.