In the Johnson City Press' 80-year history, covering local news has remained a priority. (Graphic by Mike Murphy/Johnson City Press)
If there’s one thing you can trust, it’s the Johnson City Press having local news available to you each and every day.
Not much has changed in regard to that over the last eight decades, with the Press’ department heads all doing their parts to give its customers just want they want and need.
Many people doing many different things make up the Press and its final products, be it the newspaper or one of its magazines. What has changed over the years, and will continue to change, is the way technology is used to deliver the news to its readership.
The newsroom’s managing editor, John Molley, said he has seen the technology that surrounds the newspaper industry change almost too many times to mention and says that’s part of the challenge and opportunity ahead of the JCP and other publications.
One example Molley pointed out is the how quickly stories need to be available to readers in the Internet age. He called the reporters more storytellers than they’ve been in the past and that stories can be told almost instantly.
“As a newspaper, we’re more well-equipped to tell more of the story,” Molley said about the Press in comparison with news competitors in the area, be it radio or television.
Having the opportunity to go into depth about a topic puts pressure on Molley and the reporters in the newsroom to report fairly and accurately, something he believes has been done well in the past and continues to be done well.
“This newspaper makes a difference,” he said.
Telling stories might be what makes the headlines and makes up many of the pages of the Press and its website, but advertisements are another big portion of the production of a newspaper.
“Advertisements are very important,” said Sharon Little, the Press’ advertising sales manager. “Our customers are our readers.”
Little references many of the small businesses that read the paper and want to advertise its products or services to fellow locals.
People who take the Press on a daily basis, she said, are still holding strong with their subscriptions. This is evident in the numbers, which show a slightly older demographic that has embraced their print newspaper instead of a more mobile option, which bodes well for the physical product the Press puts out.
For the ever-changing newspaper industry, Little doesn’t believe the print newspaper will be dying out any time soon, but recognizes some of the things that her advertising department and the newspaper as a whole have dealt with, especially in recent years. She agrees with Molley that news will be delivered more instantly via a mobile device, and the advertising content needs to be there with the stories.
Phil Hensley, who is in charge of the Press’ circulation staff, says he faces the goal every day of expanding the paper’s readership. His best tool in doing so, and the thing he prides himself upon most, is the customer service he’s been able to provide over the years.
With technology changing how he brings new people to the newspaper and its website, he still thinks we have the tools to provide a special product.
“We’re engaging our readers in ways we couldn’t in the past,” Hensley said.
He doesn’t consider the people who pay money to have the newspaper delivered to their house subscribers as much as he does members. And those with memberships, Hensley said, deserve specials not offered to the rest, through coupons, giveaways, events and more.
As the Press continues to strive for excellence in the future, all these things and more will be important.
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