Taking time to tell our story

Published 4:32 pm Saturday, July 1, 2017

Social media can be a good thing. It can be a place where families can connect, friends can stay in touch and memories can be shared. Unfortunately, social media also has a dark side, a side that thrives off of anger, frustration and hatred.
It is in this dark side that individuals who disagree with others begin to slander and/or share falsities about them. They share inaccurate information as freely as speaking the words. They almost sound as if they might know what they are actually talking about. But really, they don’t.
In an industry such as the newspaper industry that has been under constant attack and change over the past decade, it can be easy to understand and possibly even agree with individuals who share false information. Some even believe our industry is going away all together.
So, every now and then, we need to tell our own story. We need to share the facts with readers, allowing them to stay accurately informed about their local newspaper.
Yes, the newspaper industry has changed a lot. Fifteen years ago, we didn’t have Internet sites, optimized mobile sites, social media and e-editions to reach readers. Back in 2002, The Port Arthur News had a daily readership close to 45,000 across mid and south Jefferson County with only a print edition.
Fast forward to today, add in all those new fangled gadgets thanks to the Internet and The Port Arthur News has a daily readership of 49,250.
And this number continues to increase every week. For instance, over the past two weeks alone we have seen an addition of over 100 new subscribers. That’s important in my book, as readership is what we are all about.
A Pulse Research poll, which was conducted across our area, also found that 67 percent of all residents who live in mid and south Jefferson County read The Port Arthur News at least once a week. And of those, six out of every 10 use The Port Arthur News when making purchasing decisions.
This is three times higher than other publications in our market and 15 percent higher than the highest-ranking local television station. Making The Port Arthur News the most used medium when it comes to buying needs for our community.
Since moving to our new location at 2349 Memorial in August of 2015, we have seen continued growth in advertising.
Supporting the Pulse Research numbers above, both local and classified revenue continues to increase year over year by 8 percent, while allowing our financial profit margin to increase 10 percent over the prior year as well. This is not a profit margin increase many newspapers are seeing in this day and age. But here in Port Arthur, we are.
This is all to say, that your local hometown newspaper The Port Arthur News is thriving, no matter what others might tell you or want you to believe.
Now, I would be remiss if I did not send out a HUGE “Thank You” to our customers and readers who have stayed with us through the difficult times and changes. It is because of you that we are at this point.
You allow us to continue being the community watchdog you want us to be. And to also continue being your local media base where readers can continue to get complete and factual information on important local issues.
I enjoy meeting and hearing from readers on a regular basis. Especially when I’m out and about. So feel free to come up and visit, ask questions or just introduce yourself as one of our readers. I will never turn you away.
In fact, just last weekend at the Wal-Mart on Highway 69, two different subscribers each approached me just wanting to visit and let me know how much they enjoy The Port Arthur News and my column. I truly enjoyed meeting them both.
So if you read somewhere, or someone told you, that The Port Arthur News was going away or some other hard to believe information, either give me a call or come by the office. My door is always open when you want the truth.
Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News. Contact him at rich.macke@panews.com.

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