New Year’s Eves have changed


New Year’s Eve has changed from the days when we’d make sure we were awake to usher it in. This time, we watched the masses gathered in Times Square bring in 2012—and I know I was fast asleep when the new year hit Kansas.

We did, however, make it past midnight Jan. 1, so does that count?

I think I will need to find some steel-toed slippers or at least wear shoes around the house from now on. Twice in the past couple of weeks I’ve cracked my little toes (same ones) on chairs and other items around the house.

Is this old age creeping in, or is it just bad luck?

As we look to the future, I believe community newspapers are here to stay. And especially free papers like ours.

You read frequently that newspapers are going to be replaced by the Internet and its many forms of social media.

Nothing even comes close to the reach our newspaper has, and we know from our audits that 86 percent of those who receive our newspaper read it each week and nearly 80 percent respond to advertising messages. That translates into thousands of readers and potential buyers.

I see that most Facebook pages have a following in the hundreds, not thousands. E-mail blasts are another tool, but most of these lists numbers in the hundreds, not thousands.

I am not saying you shouldn’t use social media. Just saying the only way to reach the entire market is with our free newspaper. Professional media buyers use “cost per thousand” as the way measure the value of advertising. Our cost per thousand is very low when compared to other print media in the area.

Paid daily and some weekly newspapers have taken a big hit in circulation, thanks to the latest economic downturn coupled with the Internet and the changing ways folks get their information.

For example, the Newton Kansan now claims a circulation of just over 5,000—down from more than 8,000 only a few years ago. The Wichita Eagle has discontinued delivery to Marion County and other counties surrounding Sedgwick County, further eroding its reach.

I came across some ad bloopers the other day:

“Illiterate? Write today for free help.”

“Stock up and save. Limit 1.”

“Three-year-old teacher needed for preschool. Exper­ience preferred.”

“Used cars. Why go somewhere else and get cheated. Come here first.”

“For sale: Antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.”

“Don’t miss our semi-annual after Christmas sale.”

I say there are way too many bowl games these days. I read somewhere that 70 college teams are playing in a bowl game this season.

A bowl game is no longer a reward for having a great season. Just have a mediocre season and you get to go bowling.

For example, Illinois Univer­sity has a 6-6 record and was in a bowl this year after winning the first six games of the season and then finishing 0-6.

That said, I’m really looking forward to the K-State vs. Arkansas game Friday night, though. Both of these teams deserve to be there.

If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@hillsborofreepress.com.


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