I sincerely hope you've noticed some improvements to your free community newspaper recently. Through the last several months our senior managers and editors have been discussing our papers' news content and how we can best serve the communities where we distribute the papers. In most of those communities fewer than 20 percent of the homes receive a daily newspaper. Between radio and television broadcast schedules and limited high speed Internet connections in our rural areas, it may be difficult to keep up on all the local news.
Since our newspapers reach nearly 100 percent of the homes in the region and are read regularly by 83 percent of those homes according to our 2010 CVC Readership Audit, no other medium can match the saturation coverage we provide each week. Additionally, the major benefit to a weekly newspaper in these fast-paced times is the simple fact that we fit around your schedule, not you around us, which is why our publications consistently earn high readership marks.
In our recent self analysis, we realized we needed to - and can do - a better, more efficient job at covering and reporting local news. A few locally written articles and a couple of press releases just aren't good enough, especially in these times. We need to provide a complete recap of all the major news affecting the area, a better sports roundup, more photographs, death and birth notices and unique human-interest features generated by our news staff. We also reached the conclusion that our editorial staff needed to work more as a news-gathering team rather than stand-alone reporters with little or no connection to each other.
The first step in our reclamation process was to empower our Managing Editor John Gereau by removing the many chore functions he handles daily and allowing him greater control over the news staff. John began his news career with the Times of Ti before moving on to the Post Star as one of their lead reporters. To assist John we've recently hired Andy Flynn, former VIC public relations director and former managing editor for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News. Andy will serve as John's immediate backup and will share administrative duties while bringing his many years of writing and editing to our solid local team. We anticipate his influence over our local coverage will take shape quickly in the near future.
Keith Lobdell, has rejoined the team after spending several years as editor of the Whitehall Times, part of the Manchester Newspaper Group. In the short time Keith has been back at the helm of the Valley News we've seen a sharp increase in story count and improved sports coverage. Keith's impact on the northern papers has made quite an impression on how to crank out news copy and cover a wide region.
Joining Lobdell in our northern group is Jeremiah Papineau, Sarah Cronk, and Chris Morris. Rounding out our news team to the south are 30-plus year veterans Fred Herbst, Thom Randall, and Lindsay Yandon and photographer Nancy Frasier.
While most major newspapers are reducing staff and tightening their news coverage, at the same time they are losing subscribers and increasing the amount they charge for the new.
At Denton we believe, with the continued support of the business community, we can increase employment and our news coverage while providing, free delivery of the local news both in print and online.
The major difference between our approach and that of the major dailies in the area revolves around ownership. We are locally owned and managed versus corporately owned by entities who have little or no roots to the community and whose first priority must be to their out-of-town shareholders not their local readers, advertisers or employees.
These are difficult times we are all going through and more and more it's becoming a Goliath world, with small mom-and-pop local businesses giving way to large corporate chains. Our goal here at Denton Publications is to remain strong, serve our communities and continue the tradition of a free press here in the North Country.
Dan Alexander is the owner and publisher of Denton Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.