Sunday, April 17, 2011

Visitors asked questions at business expo in Oneida

It was great talking to so many people at Saturday's shindig in Oneida.
I learned a lot:
• Our new carrier force, provided by the Post Standard, is doing a better job, but more work remains to bring service up to the level it needs to be. Please call in at 888-699-2199 with any issues so things can be made right.
• A Canastota reader said he'd like to see more Canastota news. I told him I want more Canastota news, too. We'll get right on that.
• Several readers asked if our paper's recent outsourcing of printing and delivery is a sign that we're on the brink of going out of business. Far from it. The move puts us in a strong position. Once the final kinks are worked out in the delivery system, the carriers will be in good shape to prosper, even as the price of gasoline climbs. Since they are delivering both newspapers, their routes have more papers in a denser pattern. And as for the Post Standard press, it's one of the best in America. It can print high-quality color on every page. Yet it can only print newspapers - no greeting cards, handbills, wedding invitations or books, so most of the time it sits idle. While we are owned by different companies and still compete fiercely for news and advertising, both papers benefit from the arrangement.
• I talked to a number of people who want nothing to do with our digital efforts. They like their news on printed sheets they can hold in their hands. I told them they are not alone; lots of people still enjoy newsprint. It still works great for local advertising; people still pay to bring newspapers into their home. Newspapers don't need batteries and they're handy to have around for wrapping, window cleaning and a hundred other things. But the question isn't which is better, print or online or when or if online will replace print. The truth is they're both here now. Some people want their news in print and others only want it in digital forms. We want all these people to be our customers. We're a "digital first, print last," company, but we are committed to doing both.
This might be a good place to recap all we're doing digitally. It's a lot and we're getting better at it every day:
• - Our website continues to grow in the richness of content, frequency of updating and number of visitors. Local advertisers are finding it a good way to reach people who don't read printed papers.
• Twitter - Many of us at the paper are sending out tweets about things we find interesting in the paper or online. Follow me at and you'll find links to the others.
• Facebook - We post information on our Facebook page so our friends know what the top local stories are. Like us at:
• Blog Center - Several of us at the Dispatch have blogs and we've recruited a few community bloggers, but we want more. We want our Blog Center to represent a wide range of local information and opinion. Listing your blog with us is a win-win deal. Our site gets better, but we provide a big boost to anyone who wants more eyeballs for their blogs. Not only do we have thousands of visitors every day, but since we area a bonafide trusted news source, any blog linked from our site will rank higher in the search engines and bring you more visitors. Popular bloggers can earn money. If you want to know more, e-mail or call me. To see the blogs we have so far go to:
• SMS texts - I've saved the newest for last. The Dispatch has just begun offering news via text messages for mobile phones. This is completely different from Twitter or Facebook. We will not use this as a way to inform readers of our stories in our other products. It is breaking, significant news as it happens. Each story is only one or two sentences that sum up the basics. We won't send any after 8 p.m. (who wants their phone to wake them up for news?) and we'll only send 1 to 4 messages per day. If there's no big news we won't send any. The service is totally opt-in. If you don't request it, you won't receive it; you can turn it off any any time.  The service is free, there will eventually be a line of advertising text added to end of the story, usually offering local deals. To try it out, just text "ONEnews" to 22700.


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