The Dundalk Eagle’s first edition was printed more than 40 years ago, on May 15, 1969. The Dundalk Eagle is a local weekly paper that is distributed in the Dundalk area and focuses on issues and events that take place in the Dundalk area.
Dundalk Eagle Editor, Wayne Laufert, and Associate Publisher, Deborah Cornely has shed some light on the world of the Dundalk Eagle.
Laufert said, “All papers are going through a transition as people become more accustomed to getting their news online. The Internet is killing off the daily papers. The Web is a threat to weeklies as well, but the timeline is much kinder for weeklies, which currently have an advantage since they publish news that neither TV nor daily papers carry.”
Even though there has been a decline in readership and sales of large, daily papers, due in large part to the internet, this has not been the case for local weekly papers such as the Dundalk Eagle.
“Over the past two years our subscriber base has increased a little over 1,000. Though weekly mailed circulation has increased and now stands at nearly 10,000, our average weekly news rack sales are down to between 3,000 and 6,000 from a high of 5,000 to 7,000 three years ago. More people are subscribing, thus fewer are buying our paper from vendor racks. We believe our readership will rise as long as we offer pertinent local information that is unobtainable elsewhere,” said Laufert.
Laufert and Cornely stress how the paper stays very local with providing content the readers don’t get elsewhere such as rec council news, weddings and engagements, free obituaries, bull roasts and other items of interest in addition to the bigger stories.
This is one thing that Laura Schleig, a resident of Dundalk, loves about the Eagle. “I use the Eagle to find out all my local news and to see what is going on around the town, I like the engagement section and the generation section too; I just think its neat.” Schleig also adds that her husband loves the police blotter, “he points out people he went to high school with,” she said as she laughs.
The Eagle has had their paper online for since 1997 and in April of this year they revamped it. They found a different host because the staff wanted to make the paper “better-looking” and more flexible for their viewers.
Laufert said, “Now we pay more attention to it, too. We’re adjusting pretty well to adding online updates, finding new video and performing other Web-related tasks while still producing a weekly paper with the same staff.”
“The new site is a bit more work for two staffers,” Laufert said, “but it is basically because they have to decide where to put stuff on the home page and actually uploading the material.”
Cornely adds that reporters are writing more and more Web pieces on breaking stories before turning in their articles for the print edition.
The Eagle has not had to cut any staff positions in the current economy but the office has been cutting back on as many expenses as possible in the office. And there are no current plans to have an online-only writer at the moment because their main goal, at the paper, is primarily the print edition. “Blogging is an idea whose time probably will come,” Laufert said.
Laufert and Cornely predict, “Someday the “paper” probably won’t be a paper anymore.”
But for now the Eagle is committed to providing news to Dundalk they can’t get anywhere else.