News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 22, 2013

RONN MOTT: ‘The beginning or the end’

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — The Atlantic magazine reported Google made more than 20 billion dollars in ad revenue this year. That was more than all U.S. print media combined, according to this source. Just six years ago, magazines and newspapers in America sold more ads than Google … to the tune of 60 billion dollars. So I'm looking at this knowing I have already lost a subscription to Newsweek and, frankly, have no desire to have it on my computer. I think the computer thing is growing like the viruses that often take over them. I am less than certain it is for the good.

After Field Marshall Montgomery defeated Rommel in North Africa, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed all of England by saying to them, "This is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning." (Man, could this guy spin his native language.) Mr. Churchill was very certain of that statement and, of course, it became true.

I am less certain about all of it. It would appear the large national magazines are in some difficulty trying to find that profitable niche. There has to be a combination reached where expenses can be handled because subscribers are the people advertisers want to reach and, of course, that word "circulation" has to fit all of this as well.  

This newspaper seems to have hit that spot. There is less national news, more local news, and more advertising and more opportunity for different kinds of advertising within the body of the newspaper. And, they belong to a large chain. So the health of each individual paper aids the health of all. At least, I think so.  

I was once a reporter for the Prince George Daily Citizen in British Columbia, Canada. The publisher was an Englishman and the managing editor was a former political editor of the famous Vancouver, B.C., Sun. The Englishman wanted all of us to wear jackets and ties and the managing editor did not like Americans. He especially didn't like Dwight D. Eisenhower. So you can see it was a trying time for me, yet one I would not give up. You might have a similar experience if the electric grid goes down and you're stuck with computers that will not function and statements, paychecks, and such you will not find waiting for you in the areas where they are supposed to be.

You might keep a candle about, some pencils, and a writing tablet (you remember writing) just in case.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.