Don Rogers: A pressing issue in the Vail Valley
Vail, CO, Colorado
What’s going on with newspapers? And what’s going on with the Vail Daily?
People here have never taken such an interest in my profession before. They’ve never sounded so concerned.
I’m not going to say were are fine. But I will say thank God we’re not trying to sell homes, pound nails or fill rooms right now.
Those folks really have it rough. And if we think our valley’s having trouble with the economic downturn, try living in Detroit.
I’m thankful I’m not working at a newspaper there. It’s one of a long-shrinking pool of two-paper metropolitan areas, like Denver.
In Denver, the Rocky Mountain News at long last is on its last legs. In Detroit, in desperation, the papers are cutting back home delivery and telling customers to go to their Web sites for news.
Chicago’s Tribune Co. went straight for bankruptcy, but that’s more a reflection of the new owner, Sam Zell, and owning the Cubs and too much debt than the papers themselves.
The metro papers’ big longstanding problem is that too many readers prefer the community papers ringing them. The news of the community is unlikely to make CNN or Fox, and the metros decided they were too important for that “crap” long before the Internet popped up.
The Vail Daily is free in print as well as on line for readers. So we don’t have that impossible question: Why buy the paper in print when it’s free online? We don’t mind how you get your local news; online is fine. We’re there either way.
And readership is rich in our valley. Nine out of 10 people read the Daily. While the big cities knock off big papers, our little community now has two dailies competing for your time and advertisers’ business.
Only thing is, business is horrible for everyone right now. Our formerly teflon community has finally joined the rest of the nation in recession.
Our communities metoric rise of the past five years — and that has been incredible — hit its zenith and now is, er, correcting.
It’s happened before. It will happen again.
What’s going on with the Daily? Well, like most other businesses, we’re trying to adjust as quickly and intelligently as we can so we’re ready to roar again when things turn our way. And they will.
Don Rogers is the editor and associate publisher of the Vail Daily. E-mail him at email@example.com
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