Progress report on surviving a crisis
Normally I would rather talk with you about what’s on your mind.
Since we are a 6 months into this pandemic, you deserve a progress report.
Is this little newspaper going to be around much longer? Can it keep you up to date on what’s happening here?
The good news is that you have convinced me that the Chronicle and its little sister, The Fish Wrapper, have a future.
Since January, more than 130 new subscribers have joined the Chronicle family and we have added 3 drivers to deliver 2,300 more Fish Wrappers to 137 additional locations for you.
Visitors to LexingtonChronicle.com have doubled to almost 2,000 a day. That’s 14,000 a week and 728,000 a year.
On the advertising side – that’s where 80% of the money comes from to pay our people and our bills – our advertisers contributed $275,000 to keep us going.
Their loyalty has been amazing and all of us sincerely appreciate their support.’\
Lets get the bad news out if the way next because there’s more good news to follow.
Our subscription and advertising revenue is a 3rd of what it was this time last year.
With stores and restaurants being able to reopen and people go back to work, we believe this will improve the economy for our community and our 2 newspapers.
Now some more good news.
A pair of newspaper and magazine veterans, Cindy Johnson and Robert White, have joined us. Both are seasoned writers and sales people. They will help us produce more news for you and opportunities for current and prospective advertisers.
We are rapidly approaching an important milestone – the 150th anniversary of the founding of The Lexington Dispatch.
At the urging of local leaders, Civil War veteran Godfrey “Josh” Harmon published the inaugural edition of the newspaper Oct. 21, 1870. Despite wars, depressions and pandemics, it has kept going.
Last week I spoke digitally to civic leaders all over the state about the future of newspapers and other media, at the invitation of a long-time friend Mary Gasque.
Among the insights shared with them:
• Newspapers aren’t the only ones affected by the internet and the pandemic. Radio, TV and almost all kinds of communication enterprises have felt the impact.
• Large newspapers like Brand X in Columbia have been hardest hit due to their greater operating costs, billions of dollars in debt and absentee ownership.
• Small operations like ours are debt free, have no outsiders telling us what do to and we live, work and do business with you, our neighbors. We know what’s on your minds because you tell us.
Other good news: Our advertisers provided almost 9 pages of advertising last week. We had to go up to 24-pages.
You help us in many other ways, too.
More than 35 local people write for this little newspaper. Others of you call and write us with news and news tips.
It is truly a community endeavor.
This is “your” community newspaper.
We thank you for this opportunity
Write me at JerryBellune@yahoo.com