Happy birthday to Wareham Week!
Wareham Week and WarehamVillageSoup.com turned three this week. That’s prompted a good deal of reflection.
It was 3½ years ago when this Wareham resident determined to start a local media company based on a few simple principles I felt I had learned from decades in the “big media” business:
Local media has got to be local. Reporters and editors must be based in the towns served, editorial content much be exclusively local, and advertising must serve the needs of local advertisers.
Modern media has got to be modern. A newspaper can’t look and feel like something that has survived from the 1950s. The web has to be a part of the operation, not just a place to post newspaper stories, but as the place where news is posted first and the medium that defines how news is written.
Free is a very good price. The economics of newspapers have always assumed that money is made from advertisers who will pay to get in front of people who are reading the newspaper for its news. Subscription money increases revenue and allows publishers to tell their advertisers that every copy distributed is “wanted.” But, in an age when so much information is free on the internet, subscriptions cut in the opposite direction, shrinking the audience to a point where advertisers are less interested.
So here we are three years later. While all three of the above may sound like “no duh!” points, look around and you will not see a lot of (any?) other media companies living by them. We have, and just three years into it, we are going strong.
Of course, success is about a lot more than just a good business model. I don’t have space in this column to thank all the people who have helped Wareham Week and WarehamVillageSoup get where we are today. But I’ll try. By name: Editor Jaime Rebhan moved to Wareham before we began publishing to become our first reporter and is now the driving force behind Wareham Week. In broad strokes: All the readers who pick us up every week. The commenters who keep the website lively. The advertisers – all of them – but perhaps especially those who dared to take a chance on us when Wareham Week was still more concept than polished product. Our wonderful ad designer, salespeople, freelance photographer, printer, and delivery people who have stuck with us through good times and lean times. And even our critics, who keep us on top of our game and prevent any sense of complacency.
Thank you to everyone . . . and onward to the next three years!