MediaBytes – Osprey Observer Newspapers

  Osprey Observer Newspapers are direct-mailed community newspapers in the Brandon, FL area. Publisher Marie Gilmore responded to the questions below. 

 (MB) Five years from now what role will publications like yours serve?
For example, some people predict a complete migration to the web for many types
of publications, do you?

(OON) Being a direct-mailed,
small-town-focus community newspaper, I predict that we will continue to have a
print version strongly complemented by an actively updated website. We are like a cup
of coffee, good news welcome for many of our readers and that is read cover to

(MB) What sort of measures has your
publication put in place to either conserve costs or boost

(OON) We
are being conservative in our expansion, have frozen salaries and bonuses and will
not replace anyone who leaves, except sales. We are looking to boost revenue by
becoming more effective with our follow up and retention of current clients and
in building new ones. We have to work a little harder to maintain.

(MB)Looking forward to 2009, do you
have any significant changes in store for the new

(OON) For
2009, I think we will continue to become more effective with what we are doing
and will continue to use the website to
complement our efforts.

(MB) What was your most successful
advertising initiative in the past 12

(OON) We
initiated a Shop Local campaign with stories and links on our website to
encourage readers to utilitize local businesses. It has brought new attention to
our newspaper and has gotten people talking.

(MB) Do you have tips for other
publications about the best way to integrate print and web

sales are tough. Do you charge by the impression, the click or the position? We
are using website banner positions as a complement to the print campaign and
still working out the kinks. Advice is always welcome!

(MB) How does your publication hire and – even more important – retain top sales personnel?

(OON) We only hire part-time staff to start who must prove
themselves and work their way into a full-time position. For those with
confidence, it doesn’t take long to move up and we ease them into the work
environment. We are also very flexible and understand that staff want to put
family first and be able to be their own bosses. I put out expectations and
then allow the sales staff to achieve them.

Finally, a question for our readers from Ms. Gilmore:

I am
looking for the most cost-effective and efficient way to publish our entire
publication online in a ready to read format. I want to take our pdfs and upload
them easily…I have heard of subscription services but would love some


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