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When life gives you lemons…

By   /   August 10, 2012  /   Comments Off

Things have definitely changed here at the Journal.  I suspect that old Bill Davis wouldn’t even recognize it.  I won’t speculate on whether he would think this was a good thing, or a bad thing.  It is what it is.  However, I have had people ask how we ended up where we’re currently at.

Well, this isn’t a time for platitudes, but a time for brutal honesty.  That’s what I’ve tried to deliver, and I want to thank all those people who have been supportive.  I expected backlash.  What I got was people who understood and have already moved to reading the Journal online.

This whole situation started with the first paper I ever published.  Kevin Hogencamp’s last paper was between 30 to 40 percent advertising.  That is perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable.  My first paper?  A paltry 15 percent.  That’s it.  Honestly, it didn’t really get any better.

We struggled through, limping the whole way.  However, there were other factors at play.  One of the biggest factors was how many businesses view paying for their advertising.  While the majority did pay for what we ran, quite a few took their sweet time in remitting payment.  While, on their end this was no big deal, it was a major problem for us.  We needed funds to pay debts, and when it was late getting here, it was impossible for us to pay those debts in a timely manner.

On the other hand, there were those who have just not paid.  Several businesses who had advertised in the Journal prior to my purchase of the paper announced that they had never intended to advertise with the paper.  We were left holding out a hand that was never going to be filled.

Not all fell into that category.  One local business made a great deal of money due to the area’s favorite son…one Phillip Phillips.  Phillips created a buzz for this business on national television.  So, when we did our special section for Phillips winning American Idol, we approached this business.

They agreed to purchase an ad, but were too busy then to write a check for us.  Not a problem, as we often bill our advertisers.  We designed and ran their ad.  We are still awaiting payment.  Our next step will be to take it to the courts.

Plenty of people have told me that they believe Albany needs the Journal.  Obviously, I agree.  Going to an online only format was the only option to keep it going, and we have gotten a tremendous amount of support from the community.  It was proof that honesty was the best policy, as we have received no negative calls about our decision just yet.

However, the Journal is a business.  Like any business, we need revenue to run.  Other business owners should understand this.  Unfortunately, a few seemed to have missed the memo and thought that we didn’t need their money.  As a result, this is where we are now.

That said, this is a prime time to remember the old adage, “When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.”  That is what we have done.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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