But my heart keeps calling me backwards as I get on the 707; Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes. You know you got to go through hell before you get to heaven."
NOV. 24, 2010: Whoa!
Today's edition of the Watertown Daily Times could do some serious damage if it were accidentally dropped on your foot. (I sometimes use the term “big enough to kill a dog” in memory of the poor sleeping pooch that was crushed by a Los Angeles Times newspaper that was thrown onto the porch of a home one very early, dark moonless Sunday morning back in the 1980s).
Newspapers reflect their communities and so here is your daily reflection: the economy of Watertown is getting stronger. Today's newspaper with its inserts was the heftiest in our near 150-year history.
Here's another reflection: merchants are coming to us in droves, both in print and on our website, WatertownDailyTimes.com.
Yes, I know. Somewhere you read that newspapers are dead. But nationally merchants are rediscovering that the disposable income of newspaper readers in smaller markets is too big to ignore.
Two years ago when the recession hit, the big chains dropped their advertising with us like a bad habit (north country merchant advertising remained stable).
But through the efforts of our sales team, led by Karen Romeo, we have slowly resolved that issue to the point where we had trouble getting everyone in the paper today.
Meanwhile, we have seen an increase in single copy sales. And even more meanwhile, our website's traffic continues to climb, further entrenching us as the number one news website in the north country.
The latest figures from Quantcast tell the story better than we can. Simply put, more people come to us for their news and advertising every month.
(“Visits” are easy to manipulate for sites that are not audited. But as we say down South, "Peoples is peoples.")
Content is what drives these numbers and every day we provide more news, sports and features than all other local mediums combined. Just consider all the political advertising you recently saw on TV and read on mailbox fliers. When a source was being cited for the information you were reading, it was always The Watertown Daily Times or one of our sister newspapers. TV and aggregate websites just don't provide the content that newspapers do.
More content is on the way. Next month we launch NNY Business and you will get an even deeper view of the north country economy. The first issue features stories on all the new restaurants that have opened in Watertown, and an interview with Mark Lavarnway, CEO of Watertown Savings Bank. It is a stunning, all color product that signals the continued growth of our community and the Times.
And even more and more meanwhile, the Times will be upgrading its computer system in the next year. City Editor Perry White and I spent a day recently visiting a newspaper that uses the system we are considering buying. And while I tend to avoid exclamation points, I find it impossible when thinking about the power of the system we just witnessed: Oh, my goodness. Are we gonna have some fun in 2011!
In the last two years, we have also had the good fortune to partner with dozens of nonprofits to help raise money for north country charities or causes. By now you know the story: Getting your press release on aggregate websites is easy, but try getting a donation from them. Organizations that are serious about what they are doing should consider ways they can partner with the Times. And remember: you can actually talk to us in person or visit our office. Our employees have actual names and faces.
None of our growth would be possible without the support of our readers and advertisers. We can't thank them enough.
And if you need to burn off some calories this weekend after eating all that turkey, just bench press today's newspaper 20 times.