Does Jeff Davis County Want A Newspaper — By Tommy Purser

Okay. Let’s go back and relearn, if you’ve ever learned, the mechanics of the newspaper business.
We exist because of advertising.
Too many folks erroneously think that we can survive simply by selling newspapers. No. Emphatically no.
The business people in Hazlehurst or people who have business interests in Hazlehurst keep this newspaper in business by advertising in our pages and supporting this small, weekly newspaper.
If not for their support, the people in Hazlehurst would have no idea what their government bodies are doing, what their elected officials are doing, what is going on in the community, who had passed away, who is engaged, who is married, who make the honor roll, who’s on the Dean’s List, how the sports teams are doing, etc., etc., etc.
There are people in our midst who believe that Facebook is the way to communicate with the citizens of Hazlehurst.
Not true.
Yes, there are lots of people who love Facebook and who look at it daily.
But there are many more who don’t look at Facebook.
A while back, I discovered there was a store open in town that I had no idea was open.
I told someone in the store, “You should advertise in the paper and let folks know you’re open.”
His reply: “It’s all over Facebook.”
Great! How’s that working for you? I wanted to ask, but I didn’t.
Another business opened in Hazlehurst and sent me an email saying people had suggested to him that he reach out to the newspaper to let folks know he’s open.
So, he reached out. Apparently wanting some free publicity.
Free publicity for for-profit businesses will do little more than shut us down.
I suspect people think I’m overreacting when I tell them the Internet — Facebook in particular — is killing this newspaper.
No. It is not an overreaction by any stretch of the imagination.
I look back at past Ledgers each week and find that we normally ran 16, 18, 20, 22 or more pages every week. The number of pages we are able to run each week is solely dependent on the amount of advertising we are blessed with each week. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been running 8-, 10-, 12-, sometimes 14- pages a week for the last couple of years.
Subscribers who don’t receive their paper for a week or two call us to find out what is wrong …. they want their paper and hate to see it not arrive.
If things don’t change, they may some day permanently not get their paper each week. If the community doesn’t want to support its newspaper, it will, indeed, go away.
I appreciate beyond adequate explanation those who have remained loyal in their support and their belief that advertising in their local newspaper is good business and good for the community.
Thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. I just wish everyone thought like you do.

2 Comments

  1. Paula Steverson on February 28, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    I worked at a small town newspaper near you for quite a few years in sales. It was a nightmare, very few locals wanted to support the local paper but if they had an event coming up they sure wanted the paper to cover it! I never went in one of those stores that they gave me anything for free or even a discount for showing up to shop there. Most of the time there was a whole lot of complaining about how something was written when they didn’t pay a nickel for it. All I can say is God bless you! I’d have closed down shop a long time ago!

  2. Paul Smith on March 14, 2020 at 2:28 am

    It would seem that it is time to realize a need for a revitalized community and unity spirit in all aspects of a Jeff Davis County’s quality of life. The days of depending on the wise elders that were towers of accomplishments in all areas of commerce and large agricultural production has dwindled. These visionaries earned the stature to influence and lead the community. Agriculture or manufacturing has ceased to provide a dominant basis to provide for a way of life with a brighter future for the greater good. Business closings are increasing. How strong is the incentive for the youth to stay put? How many new homes will be built in the city, expanding the tax base? What one person in city or county leadership is tasked by the citizens to provide a vision for a more dynamic future? Is there a single form of leadership that is empowered to pull the community together to set goals and marshal local, state and federal resources to support a strategic vision supported by all citizens (one voice) county and city? Most definitely this is in no way an indictment of local leadership. A form of government that unifies the community has the potential to set forth a new strategic vision and to energize support for advancement in all areas of the community. There will be anxiety that such change will concentrate power or raise taxes. That is what election and ballot box is about. That is what democracy is about. Some will be anxious about giving up control or holding fast to the belief that the community will never accept change. (Withholding trust) Reflecting on our youth and their future can lead us to conclude “what world are we leaving behind?”
    Time is challenging the community to create a unified leadership.

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