Weekly newspapers, Web sites have a positive story to tell
While some metro daily newspapers may be suffering circulation decline and financial hardship, community weeklies and their Internet sites are vibrant and seeing marked increases in page views, said Forum Communications Co. President Lloyd Case.
Fargo-based Forum is the parent company of the Hudson Star-Observer.
"It is time for newspapers and their staffs to tell the other side of the story regarding our industry. This past week, we read about the decline of newspaper circulation in most of the major markets across the country. But, what we didn't read about is the readership increase that has taken place in other parts of the country in our print products and the expansion of our Web sites," said Case.
Within the four-state market area where Forum's 36 newspapers are published, 74 percent of adults "read our printed product or our newspaper Web sites" sometime each week.
"As a communication company, we feel it is time to speak out and give positive information of our industry to our readers. No one delivers local news better than your daily and weekly newspapers," said Case.
"As an industry, we understand the need to deliver the news to different demographics by various delivery methods, and we do that well. We have developed Web sites for each of our markets to serve our online readers as well as our advertisers. Our Web sites, which include our online advertising products, delivered over 23 million page views in April 2008, with over 5.2 million visits.
The Hudson Star-Observer's Web site recorded 186,304 page views through April. Its companion site, rivertowns.net, received 372,964 visits. The Star-Observer print version circulates 7,400 copies each Thursday.
"Our industry is alive and well and still considered the No. 1 means of delivering information to the people in our communities.
"This is what is happening in our market and I'm sure there are other positive stories to be told by other newspaper companies across the country," Case said.
Forum Communications Co. owns the Fargo Forum, Duluth News-Tribune, Grand Forks Herald and 34 other daily and weekly newspapers across the region.