As Hurricane Matthew approached the town of Lumberton, N.C., last October, Donnie Douglas, editor of The Robesonian, had a critical decision to make. How would he and the rest of the staff cover the impending hurricane, and most importantly, where would they do it from?
Regardless of what was about to happen, its newsroom understood that it would be the only source of information for much of Lumberton and Robeson County.
"We were very resilient, but also quite effective using the resources that we had, which were minimal. I went to Charlotte and worked remotely, and my managing editor was on the ground, with one or two reporters," Douglas said. "I have been in the business for 33 years, and I have never been more proud of what a newsroom I was part of accomplished."
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Five years after its inception, Main Street Media of Tennessee is a fast-growing media company operating in the suburbs of Nashville. Publishers of eight weekly newspapers, magazines and websites, the company's focus on hyper-local news unique to each community has allowed it to grow ad revenue as well as circulation.
In three weeks, at the SNPA News Industry Summit, hear how a "print-first" operation has been able to buck the trends and set itself on a path for continued growth.
Dave Gould, president and CEO of Main Street Media, says: "The idea that people no longer want to read newspapers is, in my opinion, completely misguided. But as an industry, we have to be honest and ask ourselves if we are offering our communities a product that will attract and retain readers. If we do that, can we then build a business model that will support our efforts to provide readers with strong newspapers? I believe the answer is 'yes' and that has been the basis of our company's growth to this point."More