by Kevin Slimp, August 2018
In what might be the most unusual interview of my career, held entirely through a public Facebook chat, I asked Joey Young a few probing questions about his newspaper, Newton (Kansas) Now, on the third anniversary of its first edition:
Kevin: I’m going to write a brief column about your third anniversary. Is your paper ready to close?
Kevin: Merging with other groups?
Kevin: Cutting Staff?
Kevin: Converting to All-Digital?
Kevin: How many newspapers do you have now (Newton Now was his first)?
Kevin: Then you’re selling, right? To Gatehouse or Adams or somebody like that?
Joey: Is that a requirement?
Somebody obviously hasn’t told Joey about newspapers being dead. I thought about telling him, but he seemed so pleased with how he “thinks” his papers are doing. Maybe I should have slipped in a line about rising paper prices…or declining ad revenue…or how everybody reads everything on their phones now.
When I asked the former head of a mid-size group recently about their decision to centralize everything, he admitted it had been a bad decision, a huge failure.
“Gannett was doing it. Gatehouse was doing it. So we figured it must be a good idea. We figured wrong.”
Its kind’ve sad when I run into publishers like Joey who think their papers are doing well because readers read them, advertisers advertise in them and their staffs love working with them.
I don’t think I’ll tell him. Somebody else who knows him, please do that for me.