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It's time to put the local economy front and center

I was recently questioned why we had chosen this point in time to enhance the pages of our newspapers with expanded coverage, increasing employment by adding new positions to the staff and begin taking strong editorial positions on local issues. The answer is both simple and complicated.

It wasn't a matter of just waking up one day with a revelation nor was it done on a whim. We had been looking for several years at our editorial staff makeup and whether our readers would be better served operating from two independent news bureaus in Plattsburgh and Ticonderoga or to maintain the one centralized site in Elizabethtown with the bureaus under tighter control from the central office. A year earlier, we had begun investigating the former but eventually settled on the latter. Too many chiefs in the kitchen, or in this case editors in the newsroom, caused far too many variances and not sufficient enough teamwork. The independence we allowed wasn't producing the end result we had hoped it would.

During the last several years, ours, like most businesses, had to cut spending to match the reduction in income due to the economy. We saw our profits fall off significantly, but had done our best to maintain continuity with our staff and publications. At the same time the economy was faltering, the newspaper industry was under attack as a business model that was no longer relevant in today's high-tech world. Some high profile paid circulation newspapers were folding, others going into Chapter 11, thus feeding the theory noted above. While free papers like ours had generally been discounted by our paid brethren during their heydays, as pretty much insignificant products, the value of ultra-local content is now being seen in a new light, something we had always valued as our core strength.

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