Monday, March 23, 2009

Chautauqua Region Word Editor Stepping Down

I've just read that Michael Salamone will be stepping down as editor of The Word.

In a lot of ways, I'm not surprised. Mike hasn't lived in the area for a couple years, and it's rather difficult to run a paper from another city and county. Tim Smeal, who blogged from the DNC for all us stuck in Chautauqua County, will be taking over.

The Word is facing a lot of challenges. My caveat in stating my opinions is that I don't know a lot about the newspaper business, so forgive me if it's somewhat off-base.

I don't believe newspapers are dead. I do believe they need to adapt better. A paper edition of The Word is necessary. After all, what else would we read while waiting for our $10 steak and beer at Forte? The paper definitely needs to utilize its website and free social networking apps that are available. Despite a local misconception that Twitter is only good for status updates, it does have use when applied to news media (see BreakingNewsOn, D&C, or NY Times).

Locally, there is another weekly newspaper that is making an effort to become a challenger to any paper in the county. The Word could easily differentiate itself from this weekly by being the go-to paper for news on arts, music, etc. in the area. Which brings me to another point..

Obtaining original content can be difficult if you don't have the funds to pay for that content. Some people would be happy to write articles for free, but free content means you might not be able to depend on getting consistent content. That means you need to be able to sell enough ad space to not only cover the costs of the paper, but to pay staff or freelancers as well. That can be tricky in any economy.

Since I know a couple of the people who most likely will be involved in the transition, I will let on that I have high expectations for the direction for this weekly newspaper. I wish the best to all who will be involved in this transition and happily await future issues.


i812many said...

Even though I do not live in Chautauqua County I do read the Word online and pick up a Word if I am in Jamestown. A few things that I would love to see change is the major movie reviews(We can read those in any major paper) and more content. I also believe that for the music review of the Word, Baxter would do a great job in recommending music, just a few thoughts. I wish the paper well in it's new venture

RobbTJones said...

Ubercool! Thanks for being the eyes and ears for those of who are a slave to the grind and couldn't make it.

Big Mouth Strikes Again

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