I talked with Dundalk Eagle Editor, Wayne Laufert, and Associate Publisher, Deborah Cornely and they gave me some insightful info about the local weekly paper the Dundalk Eagle. These were some of the questions and answers that I could not squezze into my feature but I still wanted to share the info with my viewers.
How far does your readership reach in each area you deliver to?
–Readership pretty much permeates our coverage area, though there are a few residential pockets where subscription sales are low, most notably within a largely African American community. On the whole our local readership is extensive and makes up about 94% of our total circulation. We mail about 3% to out-of-state subscribers and about the same percentage to subscribers in other parts of Maryland.
What areas do your articles focus on and do you ever report on news in other areas?
–We focus on the Dundalk-Edgemere part of southeastern Baltimore County and a small part of southeastern Baltimore City. When we leave those boundaries to cover something, it’s because there’s a strong local angle, like someone from the area winning an award or a sports team playing a big game.
What are the demographics of your readers?
–We don’t have specific information about the age of our readers, but we suspect we have more readers over 40 than under. The area we cover is predominantly white, and we suspect that’s reflected in our readership too.
What has been the papers biggest struggle with all the new technology in the news room? Have the changes made your job easier or harder?
–The biggest problem with technology is keeping up with new versions of hardware and software and staying compatible without being able to spend thousands of dollars frequently. However, turnaround time on getting something in the paper is much quicker than it used to be.
Is the paper online more or less to be able to reach readers who have moved away and no longer have access to the local news you provide?
–The paper’s online mainly to keep up with technology and modern readers’ expectations. Being able to reach out-of-town readers online is a bonus.
How are the sales of the 6 month subscriptions been online?
–Not great, but at least we are experiencing a little additional revenue from Web sales. Regardless of online subscription sales, we still maintain an average of 22,600 site visits a month. (Newspapers are taking a second look at how they can obtain revenue from their Web sites. The free-access business model has proven disastrous. It has encouraged large percentages of former paid print subscribers to flock to the free sites and caused revenue to plummet. The expected bump in online advertising sales has never materialized. Web sales have failed to generate the funds needed to support quality news gathering. The result has been massive layoffs of [mostly] news personnel at just about every daily paper. Even if we fail in our attempt to generate some amount of sustainable revenue from our site, we think it has been worthwhile to try. We also believe our Web sub represents an industry wide baby step toward reeducating people so they understand that quality news content is worth paying for.)
I really want to thank Wayne and Deborah for thier time and information. Another local weekly paper told me they would be unable to answer my questions and that they would be surprised if anyone would answer them. So thanks so much!