EXTRA! EXTRA!: Community paper, begun three years ago, not closing, not selling, not merging, not converting to digital

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?

Joey: Nope.

Kevin: Merging with other groups?

Joey: Nope.

Kevin: Cutting Staff?

Joey: Nope.

Kevin: Converting to All-Digital?

Joey: Nope.

Kevin: How many newspapers do you have now (Newton Now was his first)?

Joey: Four.

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.

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