Category Archives: newspaper reporting

Profiles in Print: The Rome Sentinel Company

If you wanted to paint a picture of a lovely family-owned newspaper group, a candidate for your consideration would be the deeply-rooted, multi-generational, Rome Sentinel Company; passionate about covering local news in Rome and Oneida County NY for nearly 200 years.

Three generations of publishers: Stephen B. Waters, left, passes the torch to his son, Bradley R. Waters. The portrait in the background features George Waters, who in 1993 handed the publishing reigns to his son Stephen.

Founded in the 1820s and publishing nearly 7,700 copies Tuesday-Saturday & 19,500 copies of the Seven Day Sentinel on Sunday, the Rome Sentinel is a journalistic institution. The group employs over 50 long-time employees; folks who are deeply familiar all aspects of the community. Editorial features include coverage of local sports, health issues, senior affairs, arts, entertainment, and religion. In 2019, The Sentinel began adding podcasts to its multimedia mix, featuring sports talk & movie reviews.

Also in 2019, the Rome Sentinel Company acquired the 162-year-old Boonville Herald. The Boonville Herald reaches over 8,100 readers each Wednesday in the North Country and beyond. The Rome Sentinel Company also serves the communities of Clinton, Kirkland, Westmoreland and surrounding areas via the Clinton Record.  The Clinton Record is distributed bi weekly to over 15,000 readers in the communities of Clinton Kirkland Westmoreland and the surrounding area via the USPS’s Every Door Direct program.

If you’re a local advertiser in their NY coverage area looking to promote your business, or a regional/national advertiser interested in promoting your brand to a high-quality, engaged readership, this publication group may be a perfect fit. They offer full-service digital advertising services as well, so it’s truly a multi-channel way to reach a valuable audience.

To request ad rates from the Rome Sentinel or learn more, click here: https://www.mediabids.com/publication/ad-rates/the_rome_sentinel/?pubId=74704

*Circulation as of U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership October 2, 2020

MediaBids is working on a series of short posts spotlighting notable community publications across the U.S. If you’d like to submit your publication for consideration, please email Jessica Greiner – jgreiner@mediabids.com

pro-News. pro-Citizenship. pro-Small Business.

Main Street pic

Our local news media businesses and organizations sit at the crossroads of pretty much everything that make our communities work.

  • Small businesses
  • Residents/citizens
  • Local government

Our local newspapers provide a place for local business to advertise to their local customers. Our papers cover local government and politics and help to keep citizens informed. Without our local papers there’s almost no transparency, citizenship is stymied, the credibility and authority of our local governments is undermined. This all means healthy local news organizations are a necessary prerequisite for strong local economies, thriving communities and local democracy.

Local news was struggling with competitive pressures well before the pandemic. But since March and the sudden and massive decline in local advertising dollars, many local newspapers are barely hanging on. This is why the ”Local Journalism Sustainability Act” is an important attempt at supporting local news orgs and better local journalism. Please link to more info about this proposed legislation here. Also, call the U.S. Congress switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Congressperson. Don’t know who represents you? Click this lookup page. Then make the call. Do it today!

 

Democracy

 

Facebook: A Local News Company

 

facebook

Let’s not get carried away, Facebook is still the world’s second most visited internet site (after YouTube.) But no one can deny that the past two years have been bumpy for the leading social media company. Privacy scandals, post-2016 election revelations of Facebook’s failure to more forcefully counter the sharing of ”false news,” and an unpopular change to Facebook’s algorithms have all contributed to user defections and declining site visits.

Indeed even if some of the decline in traffic to Facebook is actually due to their users spending more time on other apps, Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger for example, Facebook’s much publicized announcement yesterday to invest in local journalism is as much about the priorities of Facebook’s core businesses, as it is an attempt to make amends for recent missteps.

First, what exactly are we talking about here? Facebook is granting over $300 million to a select group of journalism nonprofit partners including the Pulitzer Center, the American Journalism Project, the Local Media Association and several others. The grants are to fund the hiring of journalists to focus on local news and content as well as the development of technology for better ”storytelling and newsgathering.” Here’s a roundup of reporting on the story:

The Street

Axios

Editor & Publisher

Reuters

Second, why invest in local news and content? Because it is the backbone of social media sites, especially Facebook. Nearly half of Facebook users get news on the site and about half of those users share or comment on the news. In short, news is vital to Facebook’s audience engagement and community building.

Third, why are news audiences important? Aside from the fact that publications need subscribers and readers, news consumers tend to be better educated and have average to above-average household incomes. Advertisers value print publications and digital news platforms because they are ”trusted environments” for their brands. But social media users have said they tend to not have as much trust in the news they find on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Without trusted content, Facebook smartly knows they’ll have a harder time attracting advertisers and developing new revenue streams. Given that news consumers are most likely to trust strong local journalism, Facebook’s investments in local news production is a straightforward play for increasing trust, increasing engagement and increasing revenues.

 

Contributor: Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

The Purpose Driven ”Ugly Christmas Sweater”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The ”ugly Christmas sweater” has long been a part of the holidays for many (tongue-in-cheek or not.) But one of the largest daily newspapers in northern Europe – Helsingin Sanomat – is very creatively and purposely putting a new spin on the ugly sweater tradition.

Helsingin Sanomat’s ”ugly sweaters” campaign has two main goals:

  1. To highlight journalism’s important role in bringing reality and truth to the public.
  2. To raise serious issues – like climate change, #Metoo, war, digital manipulation and plastics in our ocean – and to celebrate and recognize the work of activists and leaders in these areas.

According to AdAge, ”the sweaters were sent to celebrities and influencers who work on these issues, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo DiCaprio for climate change, Nobel Peace Prize winners Martti Ahtisaari, Malala Youszafai and Nadia Murad for war, Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano for sexual harassment.” Also, each sweater was made and sourced locally in Finland and the paper ran an article focused on each issue.

Taken together – the whole effort is a big win in terms of highlighting the importance of journalism and media in our world. It’s also a strong example of how creativity and marketing can be powerful, serve a larger purpose and serve business objectives all at once.

Happy Holidays!

Contributor: Jim Jinks

Print Ad Success, Happens To Be Just Like Fishing (no kidding!)

Ezra.jpg

I just returned from my annual trip to Alaska, where I did a lot of fishing with my kids. Stay with me for a minute, there is a point to this that relates to marketing in newspapers. I believe, that what I have learned about fishing applies to marketing in newspapers.

Not surprisingly, my kids all like catching fish more than they like waiting for fish to bite. The problem is that a big part of fishing is waiting (I always tell them, “that’s why they call it fishing, not catching”) and having faith that the fish will respond sometime soon. If my kids believe that we have gone to a bad spot or that there is no hope in trying, their attention to detail diminishes. Instead of checking the bait every few minutes, they check every hour. They don’t hold the rods, they put them in the boat’s rod holders. They are less likely to try different techniques or pay attention to where their bait is positioned. In short, fishing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are unlikely to be successful, unless you pay attention, which is easier to do when you believe that success is possible.

In an effort to counterbalance the inevitable impatience of children fishing, for the past several years I have manufactured a new “secret spot” that some unnamed but very wise old friend has told me about. I tell my kids that this friend caught monsters at this spot and their enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch. They believe that this spot will produce fishing glory, so they fish harder, are more attentive to detail and are more patient than they would be otherwise. So it is no big surprise that my fictitious “secret spot” always outperforms other areas that we fish.

Fishing is a hard thing to scientifically quantify and there is no doubt that a certain amount of luck factors into a good day of fishing. However, I firmly believe that there are many factors that a fisherperson can control and the expectation of success creates an environment where success is more likely.

Now, stay on the line, I am about to set the hook – marketing in newspapers is very similar to fishing.

As you probably know, we do a lot of response-based print marketing here at Mediabids. In response-based marketing there are two parties who are involved in a transaction. First, there is the advertiser who is trying to generate response for their goods or services. Second, there is the publication, who wants revenue from the results they generate for that advertiser.

Too often, I believe, all parties (and I include Mediabids in this group) don’t expect success for a specific ad in a specific publication. They want success, but they don’t expect it. All parties involved act like my kids when they are fishing in a spot they believe is unlikely to yield results. But attention to detail generates better results in fishing and in newspaper marketing. Maybe the ad would perform better with a different offer or at a different price point? Maybe the ad would generate more response if it ran in a different section of the publication or at a different size or on a different day of the week? Often it is the little things that determine the difference between an ad performing well or below expectations. However, if success is not expected, it is easy to ignore those little things, which only increases the odds of failure. It is too easy to say, “This ad isn’t going to work.” and not try anything. It is like my kids saying, “There are no fish here.”

We should all expect success from print advertising. We have all seen enough success stories to know that print can generate large numbers of highly qualified results. It should happen with every ad we place, but it doesn’t. It is the job of Mediabids, the advertiser and the publication to expect and demand that ads perform well.

Post by Jedd Gould.

Fact Checking ”Truthiness”

Trump PinochioStephen Colbert famously coined the term ”truthiness” to describe the way politicians often say things that are at best only half-true. Working in advertising, where we are held to a relatively high standard pertaining to ”truth” (not to mention subject to laws and official government oversight), the nature of advertising in politics -with its loose relationship to facts- has always been particularly frustrating to me, both as a voter and professional marketer. As a society, why do we demand more from our commercial advertisers than our politicians?

It’s a big question and I will not be attempting to answer it here. One thing is for sure, ”truth” isn’t exactly easy to define. Often it’s the case that our truth is simply what we choose to believe. But, of course, we can’t simply let politicians entirely off the hook.

Hillary 2016

While there isn’t an Federal Trade Commission (FTC) looking over the shoulder of political campaigns and consultants, in recent years there has emerged a strong vein of fact checking (even an industry, really) including newspaper and non-profit organizations. The next time you’re curious about the facts behind statements and/or advertising from one of the major candidates, these are the four most widely noted fact checkers:

Factcheck.org

Politifact.com

Sunlightfoundation.com

Poynter.org

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

5 Print Industry Videos (In Additon to the #tronc Video) That Are Worth A Watch

The video tronc (formerly Tribune publishing) recently released has received a lot of attention within the publishing industry. Here’s a link ICYMI – https://youtu.be/oeo1V-47BBw

While it is definitely noteworthy, (and many other blogs have covered it quite thoroughly) we wanted to bring to attention a few more videos about the industry that are important in their own ways.

1.) When Journalism Meets Technology

A super interesting video about how media companies are using artificial intelligence to create news stories. One example is how an article about an earthquake in the LA Times was created automatically in four minutes by a “Quakebot”.

2.) Print’s Not Dead for Comic Books
Sales of hard copy comic books are on the rise, which flies in the face of the common narrative about the death of print.

 

3.) Innovation in Newspaper Ads – Some interesting samples from Newspapers Canada about how advertisers are using print in clever ways.

4.) The Wall Street Journal – Newspaper Readership Now, Then and in the Future A concise look at the evolution of the newspaper.

5.) MediaBids – Newspaper Advertising is Alive

Here at MediaBids, we see print ads driving phone calls, leads and sales to advertisers all across the US. In this video, we talk a little bit about how performance ads can generate a new revenue stream for newspapers.

Post by Jess Greiner

All Advertising is Local

There’s an oft used phrase in Washington – ”all politics is local.” Congressman Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic Speaker of the House from Massachusetts, wrote a book titled All Politics is Local so he is perhaps most closely associated with the phrase. In short, no matter what is happening in the world, a smart politician pays attention to the ”parochial” interests of his/her constituents.

Neighborhood pic

In some ways, despite the overwhelming attention paid (in the media and in the advertising industry) to the spending of large national chains and global brands, much of advertising is local as well. But we need to think a little differently about what we mean by ”local.” Very few advertisers are necessarily well served by trying to reach everyone (not that it’s possible.) Effective ad campaigns require that we can reach certain households and certain people within a household. Advertising is not quite local, in the Tip O’Neill sense of the word, advertising is really more like hyper-local or at the individual level.

So why am I banging on about this? Why does it matter?

It matters because understanding the root of effective ad campaigns -especially now- should change our perception, somewhat, of the way the ”demise of print” is so often reported.

In print news recently, Politico reported that Macy’s would be cutting their ROP national advertising by 50% and last week Mediapost reported that the Newspaper Association of America announced they would roll up National Newspaper Network (NNN), their national ad sales arm.

http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/06/the-macys-factor-004590

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/278133/newspaper-national-network-folds.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline&utm_campaign=93824

Juxtapose these print industry reports with a recent article in the Atlantic about the state of journalism in the Facebook era. The Atlantic article noted that Pew Research looked at the digital traffic of the top 50 highest circulation newspapers in the U.S. Pew found that in just the past year, over half the papers had seen mobile and tablet traffic explode past desktop traffic. In other words, news consumption isn’t declining – it’s simply migrating to devices that are more personal (e.g. at the hyper-local or individual level.)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/06/facebook-ate-the-universe-bye-universe/486944/

It is true that many large metro dailies are struggling to hang onto national advertisers and this struggle is likely to continue. However, newspaper organizations are well positioned to capitalize on the hyper-local/individual-level needs of most advertisers, especially when we better define ”most advertisers.” In the U.S. the number of corporate/national advertisers is dwarfed by the number and amount spent by small/local market advertisers.

Facebook and Google have thrived because they offer cost-effective tools that ”small” local market businesses love. Facebook and Google are response-based and allow advertisers to reach relatively well-defined groups of potential customers. Local advertisers, unsurprisingly, have flocked to this low risk way to target the ”right” people in their communities.  Indeed, the Atlantic article reported that 85% of all online ad spend goes to Facebook and Google….rather than the flashier ROS display buys on high traffic sites.

Community weeklies and mid- and small-dailies have the advantage of the content distribution channels of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat and others) while offering advertisers a print and digital footprint that largely overlaps well with the defined local markets of many small advertisers. For the great majority of these advertisers, their menu of local marketing options beyond Facebook, Google AdWords, direct mail and the local newspaper platform includes advertising media that are decidedly less geographically targeted, response-based and cost-effective. For a variety of reasons (ad production costs, reach, waste etc.) Broadcast TV, cable TV, radio, outdoor -and even in some cases the large metro daily- are not ideal for many local market advertisers.

The widespread generalization of ”print” and ”advertisers” -in a great deal of the print and advertising industry reporting- pretty much walks up to the line of misrepresenting what is truly happening in these industries. Granted, advertising and small business at the hyper-local/individual level is tougher to generalize but it is where the bulk of all kinds of important transactions are actually happening at an ever increasing rate.

Post by Jim Jinks.