My Thoughts ‘Our Family Is Committed To You’
By James B. Bartle
Last week we announced that as of June 1, 2019, my family and I became sole owners of the Sullivan and New Haven Independent News.
This was a tremendous commitment on many levels, one of which has always been in my mind from day one of this near 30-year journey for me and that was making sure that we continued the dream and commitment of Del and Van Abell and daughter Kathleen Abell Manion to bring the news each and every week to the community with the best of our ability.
Secondly, it’s a major commitment to the future of our family. Many newspapers are having the battle of their print lives in keeping people on board with print and print advertising as they publish each and every week, 52 times a year, provide online content and then free social media content, which provides little to any revenue to the business.
We continue to have dedicated and loyal subscribers and news stand customers that get the latest copy of our publication either through the mail service, through our online service or on the news rack the moment the paper comes out.
As I’ve said before and during the nearly 30 years I’ve been with the Sullivan Independent News, we have the most loyal readers and if we are running late with delivery of the papers on Tuesday, there is often a car line at our office to purchase papers and same thing can be said at many convenience stores as well.
The only way we can continue to grow going forward and continue to provide the recorded history of our communities is to continue and obtain additional readers through subscriptions, online print versions, print newsstand customers and advertising.
While at this time we may think Facebook and other social media will be around forever and our community history, in some areas, will be retained by social media forever, this could likely not be the case in 10 years.
A community newspaper is the history book of a community, a family member of the community that records the good, the bad, the happy, the sad moments in the lives of our community. Should a newspaper close, who will record this? Facebook? MySpace? Amazon? Snapchat? TikTok?
Should a government body not follow the will of the people in a community who will be there to report it and ensure they are following open records laws? Facebook? MySpace? Amazon? Snapchat? TikTok?
We started a brand new newspaper in the community of New Haven nearly two and half years ago. I heard that I was crazy, newspapers are on their way out, dinosaur media, and on and on.
While we have not retired from the riches generated in this newspaper venture just ask a citizen, business owner, New Haven School student what it was like when their community newspaper closed several years before the New Haven Independent News came to town.
I was told by one business person that without a newspaper of their own, that city didn’t have an identity! There was no central way to communicate with the community.
What I’m trying to say to Sullivan, Stanton, St. Clair, Bourbon, Leasburg, New Haven and all other communities that we touch in our news publications is pick up a paper, subscribe, tell an advertiser you saw their advertisement in print, if you own a business place an advertisement in one of our publications.
Twenty years from now when the SHS Class of 2020 has their class reunion, do you think they will pull up Facebook on the visual screen at their reunion and view the news coverage of the softball team taking second in state or do you think newspaper clippings will still line a scrapbook of high school memories that is passed around to each member in the class the evening.
I’d like to think and I believe that it will be our newspaper clippings and not Facebook, Snapchat, MySpace or TikTok.
I also hope that local businesses will still be here 20 years from now and advertising in the Sullivan or New Haven Independent News and not see an Amazon or Facebook financial institution or Amazon Pharmacy on the corners of Sullivan sidewalks that now occupy local community owned businesses.
None of us can predict the future, but for my family we’ve placed our financial commitment on our communities, the people presently here and those in the future and the businesses that advertise with us now and in the future that Sullivan and New Haven Independent News publications will remain for years to come.
Again thank you to everyone who has supported this publication for over 50 years and we look forward to the years ahead.