Editor's Note: I was covering a girls soccer match Monday at South Brunswick High School when a parent in the stands asked if my report and photos of the game would be in a competing print publication.
I told her that it wouldn’t and tried to explain what our site, TAPinto South Brunswick and Cranbury, is about and that it is now the only real source of news for the community.
She then asked me why reporters from other organizations were not at the game.
The discussion hit many points that I think we should take a moment to address here.
I was the managing editor for the South Brunswick Post for almost five years and felt very badly when the decision was made to end that publication and merge it with the Princeton Packet as of May 2.
The Post, and many other publications for that matter, are having a rough time of it during the last several years due to decreasing subscriptions and advertising revenue from the business community.
Many print publications are grappling with the changing face of local news media.
The Star-Ledger, Home News Tribune, and others, have cut editorial resources in an effort to make their operations profitable again.
In some cases, the cuts are an attempt to just break even.
More and more people are getting their news online, including local coverage, if they can find it.
The problem is that the old business models that have been around since the dawn of the nation, have failed dramatically in the last decade or so.
While the news business has always been light on making a profit (for most organizations, it is actually a loss-leader for more profitable enterprises), it has been able to hold its own.
Recent changes in technology and news consumption, however, have forever changed this dynamic.
The result, as you have no doubt noticed, is that there are very few local news reporters left in your towns.
The ones that are around, most of the time, are covering several towns at once and only dealing with the really big stories and issues.
My partner, Nicole Wells, and I bought this franchise for TAPinto South Brunswick and Cranbury to continue to keep the communities informed on the intimate level that people say they have lost.
While we are only online, we are reaching a larger number of people than other printed products, and we have received excellent feedback on our work.
Our stories are free for our readers with no subscription required, and in under seven months of operations, our site has been visited more than 100,000 times.
The cost of our time and effort putting out the news in the community is borne strictly from advertising revenue.
This is important for two reasons.
First, as a local business ourselves, we know first-hand how important it is to get a business’s name out into the community. We have several ways to help our local business brethren do that a fraction of what traditional advertising methods cost per month.
Secondly, it allows local businesses to get behind providing an important service to the residents they serve. It shows their commitment to the communities they call home, and informs residents about important local issues.
We invite the local business community to partner with us as we grow and develop a mutually beneficial relationship that serves everyone. We are happy to talk with you to see how we can help you reach your goals while we provide the information the residents need.
It’s a win-win for all involved.
As other media outlets are shrinking their coverage and newspaper sizes get smaller and smaller, we are looking to expand what we do.
We also want to partner with coaches, schools, religious and cultural institutions and clubs of all kinds to let our readers know what is going on in town. You can easily contact us through our website to post your organization’s latest information, or your team’s latest score and game photos.
Our whole purpose is to inform our readers and enhance the businesses in the towns we serve.
As part of the greater TAPinto.net network, we also have access to news from more than 40 communities throughout the New Jersey, New York and other places, providing independent coverage of larger county, statewide and national stories that take place in those areas.
The larger network reaches 3 million people and will be visited some 12 million times this year, making us a dynamic and growing newsgathering operation.
We would love to hear from both readers and businesses alike.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (908) 279-0303, extension 223 and let us know your thoughts.
If you are a regular reader, please share our story with the people and businesses you know.
Together, we can bring full, vibrant local news coverage back to the community.
Charles W. Kim is a Town Editor along with Nicole M. Wells for TAPinto South Brunswick and Cranbury.
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