20 Years and Growing
Reporting truth and honoring values
By JEFF JOBE
Over the past 20 years as community publisher for South Central Kentucky I’ve covered pretty much every news beat there is, from murders and death threats to baby pageants and T-ball games.
My memories are filled with wonderful experiences someday to surely make their way to the pages of memoirs of a hometown publisher. These memories are what drive me to move into yet another year.
They are filled with the single mom who invited me to her son’s college graduation because she felt a speech I made about my personal life inspired her disabled son to gain confidence to excel in school. The small business owner who involved me in their plan to borrow $1M to expand a 3-generation family business because he felt my marketing thoughts were of value. And the hundreds of letters, notes, and phone calls from taxpayers, and the forgotten small business owners who are hurting but have too much pride to tell anyone else.
It is people like this that have driven my company Jobe Publishing, Inc. to becoming the largest paid delivered readership company in South-Central Kentucky.
Of course the trend is going in my favor and it wouldn’t be completely honest of me not to quantify this statement. Daily newspapers and dot com blogs are failing all over the nation for the most part. So it could be argued I just happened to show up on the Kentucky newspaper scene at the right time. I will go along with some of that, but my experience and training is grounded in circulation; an important aspect often forgotten in today’s media. I assure you there are hundreds of newspapers out there that have circulation people being fired for readership decline when the true culprit is sitting in a corner office upstairs or in some big office 100 miles away.
The upstairs office is usually filled with an out-of-touch family member who has never sold an ad, delivered a newspaper, or grabbed a wrench to help fix a press. All the while, the out-of-state owner forces their views instead of defending them.
Of course news is subjective and every newspaper has their own biases; even those of us who strive to find truth in the black and white issues and balance in the wide margin of gray miss the mark from time-to-time.
It is common for individuals exposed to painful truths to circle their wagons around the bearer of bad news and this happens from time-to-time to me as well. But Benjamin Franklin wrote or said in some form that “half the truth is the greatest lie”, and this has been the driving force behind our coverage.
The half truths and out-of-touch personal agendas of competitors have destroyed pretty much all of them over the past 20 years. My two most memorable are from a competitor naming a misguided individual who assaulted me, “Man of the Year,” and a more recent one of a newspaper endorsing “Hilary” for President.
The start-ups or revenue machines expense barrels of ink taking opposite positions from my company simply to secure advertising revenue. I respect you too much to give examples because you already know them yourself.
Without a doubt our success has been driven by the realization that a large percentage of my readership already knows the truth and I simply confirm it or destroy my credibility.
With each example, more and more readers begin paying attention. They see through the deception and the most valuable asset owned by a media outlet, their integrity is destroyed.
It also goes without saying that nowadays community newspaper people are involved in every aspect of the business. My current management team consists of four very strong newspaper professionals: Melissa Mudd, Jennifer Walker, Stephanie Smith, and Anissa Meredith.
This team of professional women report to me and we speak several times a week from issues ranging from story content and weekly sales promotions to press times and print quality. They live in the communities we serve, attend public schools with their families, and stand in lines at funeral homes giving condolences for the loss of our families, friends, and fellow business owners.
It is with great pride that I announce a tremendous accomplishment for my company in this column. The Barren County Progress has the highest paid readership in Barren County. The Progress now joins The Butler County Banner/Republican, The Edmonson News, The Hart County News-Herald, The Edmonton Herald-News, and the Russell County Times Journal in being the legal news sources for the communities they serve.
I can think of no better way to show value of readership in a newspaper than to double your paid readership in a decade and your competitor drop by 70% at the same time.
Thank you so very much for choosing the Jobe Publishing newspaper in your hometown as your local news source; I will forever be sincerely grateful.