Author Topic: Start yer own newspaper!  (Read 21262 times)

Offline Paul Bonneau

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Start yer own newspaper!
« on: May 02, 2006, 09:21:17 AM »
I noticed there is a Keene Free Press. I contacted the editor, Kat Dillon, and she pointed me to a discussion about starting your own pro-freedom newspaper. She also promises to be a good source of information for startups.

I have been interested in this lately because the Cody Enterprise is so statist, and because I've heard so many people in the area complain about it. I've had an idea there is a market opportunity there, so I'm thinking about starting up a weekly newsletter, both print and website.

If there are any Cody area folks on board here who might be interested in this, let me know. And let's talk about getting some newsletters and newspapers going elsewhere, too.

Does anyone know of any open source software that can put together a newletter pdf file and files that printers can use to print a newsletter? I have to ask Kat what she's using...
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Offline Richard

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2006, 09:49:24 AM »
Hey Paul,

glad you brought this up.  I am interested in the same type of thing.  She mentioned on that forum post that she uses MS word even though there is probably something better.  She says they print 5,000 copies which only costs about $375.  That seems amazingly low compared to what I would think.  I guess printing on newsprint is a lot cheaper than normal printing.  I've been using abiword for windows as opposed to openoffice or microsoft word.  It's open source.  You should be able to find a PDF distiller that lets you print from any program to a PDF file. 

Offline archy

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2006, 01:39:33 PM »
Quote
  She mentioned on that forum post that she uses MS word even though there is probably something better.?


Every newspaper I've worked for or around since 1988 used Adobe Pagemaker, which is pretty painless and simple enough that even sports writers can use it. Last I noticed, they're up to around Version 7.0 now:
http://www.adobe.com/products/tips/pagemaker.html


Quote
She says they print 5,000 copies which only costs about $375.? That seems amazingly low compared to what I would think.? I guess printing on newsprint is a lot cheaper than normal printing.?

It is if you've got a web-fed press or printer. They're getting large-format digital printers developed for graphic and cartographic work that offer very interesting possibilities for a local newspaper; particularly one in a tabloid format. HP offers their web/roll fed HP Indigo Press W3200 http://www.printingtalk.com/news/hew/hew100.html and I think Kodak has something similar. I'm certainly no expert or RKI on the printing end of the newspaper biz, but I did take a look at some of the equipment available to get a storefront newspaper [usually a giveaway *shopper* tab] or localized magazine off the ground; real estate and auto dealerships are all over the things. A couple of us had the bright idea of setting up a small-town daily paper in a town of but 700 folks, then selling it off to a chain in a couple of years after the inevitable Editor & Publisher and WSJ stories about the smallest town in the USA with a daily rag.

The REAL trick would be to have one coincidental with an online version newspaper, with more frequent updates and editions. And if the customer wants 10 extra copies of the edition with the pic of little Johnny winning the spelling bee on Page One, it's as easy to crank out even that short a press run.

Newsprint costs have more than doubled over the last decade or so, but a northern Wyoming-based outfit might get a reasonably localized deal from Alberta Newsprint http://www.albertanewsprint.com/ And my old boss is now running a weekly rag in Texas; I bet he knows where the best deal on newsprint can be found.

FYI, Bismarck, ND and Casper are Lee chain newspapers. Take a good look at what they're doing *the old way* too...both right, and wrong.



I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. After I realized he had no use for his shoes, I took them, and then I felt much better about myself.

Offline PaulWy

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2006, 02:08:13 PM »
I have been working on this idea for a few years now, with the thought of starting a small local newspaper of the opinions and ads variety. I have limited journalism experience in college newspaper writing and mid-market broadcast news, but that was a long time ago.

In spite of the dire state of traditional newspapers, small local niche papers have taken off. I often find new and very targeted papers popping up everywhere I go. Of course, I always get a copy for my archives. I don't know how financially profitable these papers are, but people must have some reason to keep starting and publishing them.

I see several decisions to be made about how to build such a newspaper:

   internet only, printed only, or a combination
   published daily, weekly, monthly, ad hoc
   editorial only versus news and editorial
   local only versus local and state/national
   direct competition with existing paper or exploiting a niche
   advertiser supported versus paid subscription
   distributed by mail, paper carrier, local public places

I found a couple of newspaper trade groups. The American Newspaper Association is 'exclusive', too exclusive for even traditional Wyoming papers. The National Newspaper Association is much more open. They accept as members even occasional and online-only newspapapers. Annual dues could be just a few hundred dollars. Best of all, this association seems like the standard trade group for Wyoming's traditional newspapers. Join the NNA and watch the incumbent players bite their tongue because it is harder to bad-mouth a member of the same association that 'legitimizes' themselves.

I haven't researched the Wyoming Press Association, but understand they are active in press freedom and open government meetings work.

I have thought that entry could be pretty easy. Perhaps just an online paper for a while, then start printing a small run and distributing in local stores. Sell ads, start distributing by mail, print in color.

In terms of working with like-minded Wyoming newspapers, I noticed Wyoming's traditional newspapers have a consortium for reprinting each others' classified ads. Perhaps we could also share editorial and print other areas' local news when it has a broader interest.

The difference between a blog and a newspaper is a matter of how many hands are involved. A newspaper does not just cover one person's interests, polishes the writing more than a blog, and has an organizational consistency to it. Unfortunately, that means the one-person newspaper doesn't seem viable.

If you don't have a mega-budget to hire a dozen people to produce the paper, what can you do? Perhaps you can find someone who wants to edit or fact check or layout the paper. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to write but would still want to contribute. As a bonus, the writer may  need to be local, but the rest of the staff can be anywhere. Five different newspaper can share an editor. Stuck in Colofornia for a few more years? Why not accept fact-checking assignments. It is a way to join in and contribute without even being here. As more of a community project than a business venture, the staff can even self-finance.

Here are the job functions I have thought of:
   publisher
   editor
   writer
   fact-checker
   layout
   display ad sales
   classified ad sales
   computer support

Remember that the newspapermen say "Whose bread I eat his song I sing." Watch out for your integrity. If you just do this for money you will end up another sell-out and then a fail-out. If you have better reasons you may also make a living.

I don't know if all this makes sense or not. I really don't know much about newspapers, and welcome all efforts to educate me on the subject. If we discuss this we can probably figure things out better than any of us could on our own.

If you are going to be at the Jam, I will bring my collection of newspapers and maybe we can talk about how this could work.

Paul
It is easy to stop one person, difficult to stop one hundred, and impossible to stop one thousand. Jack Stack

Offline Lady Liberty

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2006, 09:58:00 PM »
Quote
  She mentioned on that forum post that she uses MS word even though there is probably something better.

Every newspaper I've worked for or around since 1988 used Adobe Pagemaker, which is pretty painless and simple enough that even sports writers can use it. Last I noticed, they're up to around Version 7.0 now:
http://www.adobe.com/products/tips/pagemaker.html

MS Word will do in a pinch, but is strongly not recommended. Its limitations are legion. MS Publisher is even worse. Though it has fewer layout limitations, its compatibility is extremely limited. Publisher is best left to the garage-sale-flyer publishing folks.  :-\

Pagemaker is an old standard, but most printers, magazines, and newspapers are using Quark these days (often in combination with Illustrator). For the record, most of the folks I've talked with use Quark because that's what the company has, and they hate it. I've never used it and can't personally say anything either good or bad about it (though the most common complaint I hear concerns its inability to paginate). At my company, we use FreeHand which is something of a combination of Pagemaker/Quark/Illustrator in that it can do multiple pages, page lay-outs, and drawing for those who can draw (I can't).

Virtually any printer from your own desktop to the biggest publishers will take a pdf file. They may (or may not) need you to run your pdf files through Distiller first, but if they do, they'll provide you with the settings. Most softwares will convert their own native files to pdf (either via a "save as" or an "export as" or a "print as" function). Beware the pdf settings ? they do matter! And if you can't control the settings via your software, you need better software (seriously ? the settings are far too important not to be able to manipulate).

If you're just playing around, anything that'll typeset will work. Your home printer, if it's halfway decent, will print out a good enough master for reproduction; a pdf file can be e-mailed to a printer.

If you truly want a professional publication, it's going to cost you the money to get professional quality software. My own recommendations for the serious publisher:

Page layout/typesetting: FreeHand

Graphics/photo work/line drawing: FreeHand or Illustrator; and PhotoShop

Art service (we're very fond of Clipart.com, and at under $200 a year, it's a real bargain)

and

Web publishing: Dreamweaver

These programs aren't cheap, but they're very, very good. Y

ou'll also need a good editor/proofreader and a good designer (anybody with a computer can "publish;" to make it look good takes a designer) irrespective of your reporters, your "theme" (if any), and etc. And the gods know if you're buying this kind of software and paying an editor, you're going to need sales reps!  :D

Good luck! I think it would be a helluva thing for some FSW folks to get into the newspaper biz in WY!

And for the record ? if there's a serious effort undertaken, I'd like to submit my r?sum?.  8)
"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." Patrick Henry

Offline Paul Bonneau

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2006, 12:10:17 AM »
This starts to get overwhelming.  :P  I feel I can write, fact check (with a little training), maybe one or two other things, but I don't have much background on running it as a real business. I was thinking small, something like a little newsletter, and maybe growing and getting more professional as I got things under control. But I don't know...

Definitely, let's talk about this at the Jam. Maybe we could have a consortium of newsletters and small papers, and share the talent. That way each little paper wouldn't need a full staff, just a circulation person and an editor, or something along those lines.

I think it's pretty important. No matter how resistant the people are to statism, the constant beat of government cheerleading from the regular media wears people down. The latest hobbyhorse for the Cody Enterprise? A county tax hike.  >:(
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Offline archy

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2006, 12:02:38 PM »
I see several decisions to be made about how to build such a newspaper:

[*my opinions in brackets & surrounded by asterisks*]

   internet only, printed only, or a combination
                [*combo* If only to archive the back issues on the net, keeping the geneologists digging
                through obits out of the library/morgue]
   
               published daily, weekly, monthly, ad hoc
               [*the market will decide. but twice-weekly plus a weekend edition might be a good start. Special
               editions if called for, extra print runs *BULLDOG EDITION* if called for- think elections and 09/11]

               editorial only versus news and editorial 
               [*editorials, columns and letters in reply and guest editorials belomg on the editorial page. They'll
               also get more readership if they're next to or between the comics and the classifiedads.*]
   
               local only versus local and state/national
               [*local, county, local, regional, local, state, local, national, local and world. In that order.*]
   
               direct competition with existing paper or exploiting a niche
               [*VERY rarely do two newspapers directly compete with each other, though fights for
               advertiser dollars are not uncommon. There are exceptions; I was a syndicated columnist for a     
               small town [pop. 3,378] newspaper that was the smallest town in the country with two
               competing daily newspapers...next door to each other. When the dust settled, we'd won, and
               the other folks packed up shop and moved out of town. It got pretty dirty a couple of times.*]
               
               advertiser supported versus paid subscription
               [*The cover price of most smalltown dailies does NOT cover production costs.*]
   
               distributed by mail, paper carrier, local public places
               *You'll want that fourth-class rate mailing permit. Consider the effect of really lousy weather     
               on carrier delivery and think internet. Direct sales at gas stations/restaurants/groceries are a winner
               for morning papers, less so for PM dailies.
       
               I found a couple of newspaper trade groups. The American Newspaper Association is 'exclusive',     
               too exclusive for even traditional Wyoming papers. The National Newspaper Association is much
               more open. They accept as members even occasional and online-only newspapapers. Annual     
               dues could be just a few hundred dollars. Best of all, this association seems like the standard
               trade group for Wyoming's traditional newspapers. Join the NNA and watch the incumbent
               players bite their tongue because it is harder to bad-mouth a member of the same association
               that 'legitimizes' themselves.
               I haven't researched the Wyoming Press Association, but understand they are active in             
               press freedom and open government meetings work.

               [*You'll want to consider joining the Associated Press, too [it really is technically an association]
                and probably APME, too. NPPA for your photogs, and IRE for some staff. Wyoming Press Assn
               [WyoPress] info here: [urlhttp://www.wyopress.org/[/url] Press association deals can help the
               classified ad dept out, too. Oh, and you'll want to subscribe to Editor & Publisher
               http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/index.jsp[/url and probably to Columbia Journalism                 Review [url]http://www.cjr.org/


Quote
I have thought that entry could be pretty easy. Perhaps just an online paper for a while, then start printing a small run and distributing in local stores. Sell ads, start distributing by mail, print in color.

In terms of working with like-minded Wyoming newspapers, I noticed Wyoming's traditional newspapers have a consortium for reprinting each others' classified ads. Perhaps we could also share editorial and print other areas' local news when it has a broader interest.

The difference between a blog and a newspaper is a matter of how many hands are involved. A newspaper does not just cover one person's interests, polishes the writing more than a blog, and has an organizational consistency to it. Unfortunately, that means the one-person newspaper doesn't seem viable.

[*Some weeklies are pretty close to a one-man shop. And I can think of several papers that are family operations. But you've got the generalities down pretty good.*]

Quote
If you don't have a mega-budget to hire a dozen people to produce the paper, what can you do? Perhaps you can find someone who wants to edit or fact check or layout the paper. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to write but would still want to contribute. As a bonus, the writer may? need to be local, but the rest of the staff can be anywhere. Five different newspaper can share an editor. Stuck in Colofornia for a few more years? Why not accept fact-checking assignments. It is a way to join in and contribute without even being here. As more of a community project than a business venture, the staff can even self-finance.

Here are the job functions I have thought of:
   
                publisher
   editor
   writer
   fact-checker
   layout
   display ad sales
   classified ad sales
   computer support
               [*printer/pressman- maybe obsolete*]
               [*secretary/front desk/phones op*]
               [*librarian/clipper/morgue*]
               [*circulation manager]
               [*circ runner*]
               [*ad manager/runner*]
               [*photogs*]
               [*interns/cubs*]
               [*stringers and freelancers*]
               [*correspondents and columnists*]

               [*the darkroom tech and linotype ops I once worked with are probably obsolete, and maybe     
                a couple of others too.*].



Quote
Remember that the newspapermen say "Whose bread I eat his song I sing." Watch out for your integrity. If you just do this for money you will end up another sell-out and then a fail-out. If you have better reasons you may also make a living.

Not the way we put it at the rags I worked on, but true. But not as true as Freedom of the Press belongs to the man who owns one. Oh, and You're only as good as your last story. One of my former editors was really fond of that oine.
Quote
I don't know if all this makes sense or not. I really don't know much about newspapers, and welcome all efforts to educate me on the subject. If we discuss this we can probably figure things out better than any of us could on our own.

Indiana University Journalism School, 1970-'72 [Ernie Pyle College of Newspaper Knowledge]
Chicago Daily News, 1970-'78, Photo Stringer and Special Projects Photog
Knox County Daily News [IN]1988-91 photog and Hiatt Newspapers syndicated columnist [Along The Way]
[1992 Beidler Award for Desert Shield/Storm/Sabre columns coverage]
Bitey Magazine, San Francisco [OJ Simpson trial coverage & followup investigative reporting]
World Net Daily 1997-2004 [stringer and Mid-South WND specxial projects investigator; Contributing Editor WND Dispatches Magazine.

among a few other things....
 
Quote
If you are going to be at the Jam, I will bring my collection of newspapers and maybe we can talk about how this could work.

Paul

That will only work for those of us who can read. Someone will have to help me with the big words.

Quote
I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. After I realized he had no use for his shoes, I took them, and then I felt much better about myself.

appaloosablue

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2006, 05:50:32 PM »
Quote
If there are any Cody area folks on board here who might be interested in this, let me know. And let's talk about getting some newsletters and newspapers going elsewhere, too.

I'm not going to be in Cody---Will be living east of Casper.? Would be glad to help in anyway--proofing, raising money, subscriptions, advertising, finding business that will sell/distribute, manning a phone(this is what I did for the last 4 years in our business ;D)..................don't think the writing aspect would be what I want to do.? ?

I will be getting Adode Acrobat Writer hopefully soon---would this be useful?

Brandy


Offline PaulWy

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2006, 09:10:47 PM »
Archy, I feel honored that you took my post seriously. Thank you. As I wrote, I am not an expert but with you and other professionals such as Lady Liberty working with us, we can go farther faster.

Mr. Bonneau, thank you for getting this discussion started. Apparently several of us have been thinking about the power of the press. I didn?t mean to discourage the project, only that if it is to be more than an occasional printed blog, it will require some organization. I will contribute my skills to any newspaper you all start. Perhaps we could make it a goal to start small, amateurish and online and grow from there. That would work for me.

I read a book by Dan Gillmor called _We the Media_ which shows his vision of small, participative journalism. He was a technology writer for the San Jose Mercury until he quit to work on ?citizen journalism?. Of course he also has a blog.

For another free paper along the line of the Keene Free Press, check out The Free Liberal. Don?t be fooled by the name. This paper aims largely libertarian ideas at college students, and they sort of, er? defined the word ?liberal? a bit differently than usual.  (Features cartoons by Russmo.)

I plan to subscribe by mail to the KFP; I?ll try to get some issues to bring to the Jam.

Paul
It is easy to stop one person, difficult to stop one hundred, and impossible to stop one thousand. Jack Stack

Offline Paul Bonneau

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2006, 11:07:17 PM »
I'm going to comment on archy's answers to Paul's questions/suggestions (you guys might call me PaulB to distinguish the Pauls when needed  ;) )

Quote
internet only, printed only, or a combination
                [*combo* If only to archive the back issues on the net, keeping the geneologists digging
                through obits out of the library/morgue]
I concur. Website should be a simple archive of pdf's, and for people who for whatever reason don't want a print copy. If we have excess web talent we can spice it up, but that's a lower priority.

Quote
published daily, weekly, monthly, ad hoc
               [*the market will decide. but twice-weekly plus a weekend edition might be a good start. Special
               editions if called for, extra print runs *BULLDOG EDITION* if called for- think elections and 09/11]
I lean toward weekly. Much (in my case) would be commentary/correction/de-euphemization of articles in the twice-weekly Cody Enterprise. Too much more would make it a job, too much less would not be timely enough.

Quote
editorial only versus news and editorial
               [*editorials, columns and letters in reply and guest editorials belomg on the editorial page. They'll
               also get more readership if they're next to or between the comics and the classifiedads.*]
Again concur. I suspect in the beginning it will be more commentary. Later as things develop, and we get a real "reporter" we can go into actual news. Also early on we will start covering city council meetings and such.

Quote
local only versus local and state/national
               [*local, county, local, regional, local, state, local, national, local and world. In that order.*]
Local and county get top billing, state (particularly, state government) next. Nothing above that. No room, no time, etc.

Quote
direct competition with existing paper or exploiting a niche
               [*VERY rarely do two newspapers directly compete with each other, though fights for
               advertiser dollars are not uncommon. There are exceptions; I was a syndicated columnist for a     
               small town [pop. 3,378] newspaper that was the smallest town in the country with two
               competing daily newspapers...next door to each other. When the dust settled, we'd won, and
               the other folks packed up shop and moved out of town. It got pretty dirty a couple of times.*]
To me this is the main reason for being. People have to get some other source of information. The Cody Enterprise is selling a world-view, and everything has to conform to that world-view. That is a crock. That such competition is rare, really only means that the old Media don't want to mess up the common world-view they are selling: morning and evening papers in the same city are selling the identical worldview. We won't be that way.

Quote
advertiser supported versus paid subscription
               [*The cover price of most smalltown dailies does NOT cover production costs.*]
Well, there are certainly easier ways to make a buck.   :D  This will be a labor of love. We will certainly try to get ads and hope they help pay most expenses. I think the paper should be free on the news stand, free on the web site of course, and a subscription should just cover the cost of postage and maybe a bit extra for production, but the cost to subscribers should be kept low.

Quote
distributed by mail, paper carrier, local public places
               *You'll want that fourth-class rate mailing permit. Consider the effect of really lousy weather     
               on carrier delivery and think internet. Direct sales at gas stations/restaurants/groceries are a winner
               for morning papers, less so for PM dailies.
Sounds good to me, but I know squat about it. And my Dad was a circulation director in several major dailies! :-[

I'd lean against joining the established news associations, which makes it easier for us to whack the competitors. We should be guerilla media, not establishment.

Quote
Here are the job functions I have thought of:
   
                publisher
   editor
   writer
   fact-checker
   layout
   display ad sales
   classified ad sales
   computer support
               [*printer/pressman- maybe obsolete*]
               [*secretary/front desk/phones op*]
               [*librarian/clipper/morgue*]
               [*circulation manager]
               [*circ runner*]
               [*ad manager/runner*]
               [*photogs*]
               [*interns/cubs*]
               [*stringers and freelancers*]
               [*correspondents and columnists*]

               [*the darkroom tech and linotype ops I once worked with are probably obsolete, and maybe     
                a couple of others too.*].
I'd hope at least some of these can be shared among our family of pro-freedom micro-papers.
Laws turn men into slaves.

Offline PaulWy

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2006, 11:17:17 PM »
I find myself in complete agreement with PaulB, as usual. Let me know when we start.

Also, I will style my name as 'PaulWy'. If I could change my handle, I would.

PaulWy
It is easy to stop one person, difficult to stop one hundred, and impossible to stop one thousand. Jack Stack

Offline wyomiles

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2006, 01:28:56 AM »
 Quote : " (you guys might call me PaulB to distinguish the Pauls when needed   )"

Or Buffalo Paul Cody  ;D

Miles

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Offline FSW Forum Administrator

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2006, 07:58:34 AM »
Also, I will style my name as 'PaulWy'. If I could change my handle, I would.

PaulWy

You should be able to change your displayed name. Click the button above that says Profile. On the left hand side there should be an option called Account Related Settings, click that. Second field down in the body of the page should be Name: This is the displayed name that people will see.. Change this field to whatever you want it to be and scroll down till you see the Change Profile button. Click this button. Voila! Your displayed name is changed. Your login name will remain the same. And in actuallity, you can change your login name if you really want to but the forum will reset your password and email it to the address on record.
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Offline PaulWy

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2006, 09:22:22 AM »
Administrator, Thanks for the help! My displayed name is now 'PaulWy'. Sorry for the bad initial choice, and the confusion the change will cause.
It is easy to stop one person, difficult to stop one hundred, and impossible to stop one thousand. Jack Stack

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Re: Start yer own newspaper!
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2006, 09:44:53 AM »
No confusion. Forum makes the change retroactive.  ;D  So, all your previous posts say PaulWy
Thanks,
The Management