September 11, 2013 - A newspaper is a business.
It's not a nonprofit group or a charitable foundation or a government-sponsored program.
A newspaper is a product for which ads are sold to earn a profit. Profit is what keeps the doors open and the lights on. Profit is what feeds, clothes and shelters the families of the owners and employees.
That's why it bothers me so much when other for-profit businesses or groups whose purpose is not charitable, educational or to serve the public good in some way feel they're entitled to free advertising in our pages.
Now, I don't mind it when the aforementioned folks politely request some coverage or that a brief be considered for publication.
It doesn't hurt to ask. But asking is very different from expecting.
I definitely don't like it when they feel that just because something was requested or submitted, this newspaper is obligated to provide free space. That's not true. The only guaranteed space is ad space.
I especially don't like it when they complain when their so-called news item doesn't make it into that week's pages. Things are published based on discretion, available space, newsworthiness, etc. This isn't Burger King where you can place an order and have it your way. It's a newspaper, not a Whopper – and even Whoppers aren't free.
Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to provide coverage and give free space to local nonprofits, churches, fund-raisers and genuine community events.
That's what a community newspaper does.
I gladly spend many hours covering worthy causes like Oxford-Orion FISH, the K-9 Stray Rescue League, the Tour de Shane Bike-a-thon, and all of the vets groups based at American Legion Post 108.
I also love promoting new causes like the Kachin Strong Foundation featured on Page 1 this week.
Many of those same nonprofits, churches, fund-raisers and community events purchase ad space from us independent of the news coverage they receive.
A sincere thanks to them for returning the support we provide. It's a recognition of this paper's value and it's truly appreciated by myself and the staff.
Value – that's a really good word. It's a word that certainly gets tossed around a lot, but how many folks truly understand or appreciate its meaning?
I've seen for-profit entities and non-charitable groups demand free space because they claim it's so very important to get their information in our newspaper. I love it when they tell me how another newspaper published their stuff.
But when asked to purchase some ad space, many of them won't part with a single cent.
To me, that says they believe the newspaper has no value and that's when I stop listening.
Anytime someone expects a product or service to be free because they're unwilling to pay for it, they're saying it has no value and frankly, that's extremely insulting to all the hard-working folks who provide it.
To all those local businesses, groups and churches that do advertise with us, many thanks for your support.
We recognize your value as well.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.