Tifton Gazette


February 8, 2014

COLUMN: Headed to the tar pit? Nah...

I got a call Friday from a gentleman who made a statement that just annoys the ever-loving snot out of me – newspapers are going away because of the Internet.

I beg to differ.

The man said that large newspapers (he mentioned the New York Times) are “bleeding red ink” and implied they would soon go the way of the dinosaur.

It’s true that larger newspapers are struggling. This is not news. They have been for some time. Here’s why: It’s because they try to be all things to all people. In today’s information-saturated society, that’s a nearly impossible feat. Newspapers all over the country have found themselves putting up figurative “going out of business sale” signs and calling it a day.

Meanwhile, smaller community newspapers have continued to thrive. Why? Because they are, like The Gazette, hyper-local, focusing on news the bigger fellows wouldn’t give a second glance.

Warren Buffett agrees. In the past couple of years, Buffett has spent $344 million acquiring 28 daily newspapers.

But why?

In his own words, “Newspapers continue to reign supreme...in the delivery of local news. If you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper...a reader’s eyes may glaze over after they take in a couple of paragraphs about Canadian tariffs or political developments in Pakistan; a story about the reader himself or his neighbors will be read to the end. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I don’t believe that community newspapers such as ours will fade into obscurity. Will we change how we do business? Sure. We’d be stupid not to. Will we constantly analyze and make adjustments to our product to better suit our readership? Of course. Our look may even change a bit due to changes in newsprint or printers. Personally, I’d love to see us go sci-fi and be delivered to you on a single piece of paper that is a screen like an iPad.­

But will we be replaced by the Internet? Never.

Where else are you going to read about everyday life in Tifton and Tift County? Sure, you may see tidbits on TV, or read bits and pieces here and there, but when you look at The Gazette on a daily basis, and look back at its years in production, you can easily see that it’s a mirror of life here...it’s our history. That is valuable to the people who call Tift County home.

So are we going the way of the dinosaur? Heck no. We’re alive and well in downtown Tifton, and will be for many years to come.

Mark my words.

You may reach Angye Morrison at angye.morrison@gaflnews.com

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John Gamble (right) is joined by John Reid at the Tiftarea YMCA Saturday.

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