It’s Not Complicated

By Chuck Roy, Publisher

We are not complicated; we are simply a local newspaper focused on our community. And we know we are defying the odds. Yet, we’re growing in spite of the heresy and the hysteria.

In an era when many local newspapers are struggling, The Winnsboro News has recently added almost 120 new subscribers and a dozen, or so, new advertisers. This newspaper has also launched an upgraded version of our website and our new hires include experienced journalists with deep knowledge of the local area.

As owners and publisher of The Winnsboro News, Nancy and I face many of the challenges that are putting local newspapers out of business: fickle revenue streams, aging readership and the rise of social media as a primary source of news, just to name a few.

Between 2005 and the start of the pandemic, about 2,100 newspapers closed their doors. Since Covid-19 struck, at least 80 more papers have gone out of business, as have an undetermined number of other local publications.

Unlike some newspapers, which have shrunk to the size of a supermarket supplement, The News has grown in almost all key metrics. Also growing is our goal is to be relevant and then essential to, and for, our hometown.

I believe that many people are waking up to the importance of local and unbiased news. It is important for any city, much less an exemplary cultural city like Winnsboro, to have an excellent newspaper that can relate to their needs.

But there has been something else drawing readers in. As many people have become more anxious about the effects of The Great Sickness, unemployment, the economy, and so on, they began looking for stories that made them feel better and for perspectives from trusted sources that could help them shape their opinions.

That is the role that The News is dedicated to fill. A newspaper that will amplify community voices for equality, justice, and spotlight everyday people going about their everyday lives in spite of the multitude of distractions.

As we learned with The Community Chronicle, that as the pandemic worsened and violence spiked, readers could turn to The Chronicle for uplifting stories that provided a look at the full spectrum of our lives. Even something as simple as a lifeguard teaching kids to swim, a centenarian’s life of community service, or a profile of a rodeo barrel racer can make a positive difference on a newspaper’s broadsheet usually covered with drama and trauma.

But even as The Winnsboro News attracts a new audience, we are still working hard to serve longtime readers. We want to make sure that the establishment has a voice in the newspaper. Even as we work to bring in a younger generation of readers, we’re saying don’t forget about the generation that got us here.

News readers are like readers of any local publication, they want a news organization to help them understand the world around them. At the same time, they want news that is close to home.

This is where local news is critical. By helping people answer these kinds of questions, we are helping them build that sense of community. It is a challenge we have accepted. And that, as much as anything else, is what’s keeping this newspaper alive and well. We are honored to be the newest stewards of the tradition of The Winnsboro News. We will strive to be your Winnsboro News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.