Volume 16, Issue 38 - September 18 - September 24, 2008

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Letter From the Editor

Thank Our Advertisers for
Bringing You Bay Weekly

How can you make money on a paper that’s Always Free?

I hear that question often, and never without remembering my own shock when the first alternative paper I worked for, Illlinois Times, replaced the 25 Cents imprint in its upper right-hand corner with the word Free.

I was told — and have since verified with experience — that the answer is a simple fact of economics. More people pick up and read a free paper than a 25-cent paper. The more people who read the paper, the better the return for advertisers, who are the financial backers of every newspaper — even the ones you pay to read. Subscriptions bring in an average 20 percent of a paid paper’s revenues.

Each week, 20,000 copies of Bay Weekly are printed and distributed throughout Anne Arundel and Calvert counties. Nearly 50,000 people browse our pages each week, according to average-reader studies of papers picked up by choice. Nowadays, on-line editions add more readers.

Those figures make us happy. They mean you’re reading. They mean we’re making connections. They mean we’re not wasting our time and money — on all that newsprint, salaries, office space, electronics, etc.

And they mean our advertisers are not wasting their money. For each reader is a potential customer looking in the window of their ad.

We’ve always been determined to give our advertisers great value for their investment. Never have we taken that commitment more seriously than now. Choice on how to spend advertising dollars is greater than ever before — just as our recessed economy makes every dollar more dear and advertising dollars more scarce.

Giving ever-better value means more than designing cleverer ads, with more-affordable eye-catching color, with on-line as well as print options. It also means making sure the news and views we deliver — the neighborhood in which you see the ads — keep you reading.

Making Bay Weekly an ever-better value is the reason I’ve been speaking to you over the past weeks, talking about journalism in this critical time instead of editorializing at large. Because keeping you reading is my most important job, as editor and publisher.

So these are my questions: Do our stories interest you? Do we choose subjects you care about? Do we offer insight you value? Is our story mix of long and short just about right? Do we make you smile — or shriek? Either’s okay, as long as we don’t bore you — for then we’ve lost you.

Change is a rule of journalism in 2008. Instead of change for change’s sake, we want our changes to be ones that help you like us better.

Let me know how well we’re doing our job at editor@bayweekly.com.

And repay our advertisers for bringing you Bay Weekly by spending your own hard-earned dollars with them. Remember, too, to tell them you saw their ad in Bay Weekly.

© COPYRIGHT 2008 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.