Source: Sherman Publications

My Way
Some thoughts on the V-word

by CJ Carnacchio

September 11, 2013

A newspaper is a business.

Itís 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.

Thatís 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 theyíre entitled to free advertising in our pages.

Now, I donít mind it when the aforementioned folks politely request some coverage or that a brief be considered for publication.

It doesnít hurt to ask. But asking is very different from expecting.

I definitely donít like it when they feel that just because something was requested or submitted, this newspaper is obligated to provide free space. Thatís not true. The only guaranteed space is ad space.

I especially donít like it when they complain when their so-called news item doesnít make it into that weekís pages. Things are published based on discretion, available space, newsworthiness, etc. This isnít Burger King where you can place an order and have it your way. Itís a newspaper, not a Whopper Ė and even Whoppers arenít free.

Donít get me wrong, Iím more than happy to provide coverage and give free space to local nonprofits, churches, fund-raisers and genuine community events.

Thatís 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. Itís a recognition of this paperís value and itís truly appreciated by myself and the staff.

Value Ė thatís a really good word. Itís a word that certainly gets tossed around a lot, but how many folks truly understand or appreciate its meaning?

Iíve seen for-profit entities and non-charitable groups demand free space because they claim itís 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 wonít part with a single cent.

To me, that says they believe the newspaper has no value and thatís when I stop listening.

Anytime someone expects a product or service to be free because theyíre unwilling to pay for it, theyíre saying it has no value and frankly, thatís 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.