Some may call us out of touch with the latest trends, but if charging to run news items is progress, we’ll happily remain behind the times, as we apparently do in other areas.
We have not raised our local advertising rates in three years. Our competitors raised theirs just last year.
We have never tried, then promptly abandoned, a makeshift scheme to skirt state law so we could publish legal notices. We complied with the law fully from the start.
While newspapers nationwide have been laying people off, we have increased our staff by two, and a third will be starting within a few days.
Yes, our advertising revenue is down slightly, but our subscriber list has swelled: up 4.8 percent for the Marion County Record, 6.1 percent for the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, and a whopping 47.6 percent for the Hillsboro Star-Journal in the past six months alone.
These are real readers, not mailboxes and garbage cans. Our competitors admit 20 percent of their supposed readers throw their paper away without reading it. Our readers care too much about their community, and the businesses whose advertising helps support it, to ever do that. And we care too much about them to put a pricetag on our integrity.
We can’t imagine people in Marion, Peabody, or other cities in the county sending money to a Hillsboro paper to publish news that their hometown newspapers will publish for free. And we can’t imagine Hillsboro residents being eager to do so, either.
Next time you’re shopping in town, be sure to give a welcome thank-you in the way of continued patronage to the businesses that support our community — and the news we publish — by advertising on our pages.
It may be old-fashioned, but that’s how small towns work: one neighbor helping another, without expecting a payoff in return.