Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Opinion

October 8, 2011

Just ask Janet

JACKSONVILLE — This time last year I ran a survey in the paper asking you what you like and don’t like about the Jacksonville Daily Progress.

And then we spent the next 12 months trying to address the issues you raised.

Now it’s time for another survey, to assess where we’ve made progress, and what we still need to focus on.

This paper will never be absolutely perfect every day. No media outlet is perfect every single time they produce their product. I see and hear mistakes on every TV newscast. I hear them on the radio and I see them in other print publications. Media is produced by people and people make mistakes. All we can do is learn from those mistakes, try not to make the same mistakes again, and continue to strive to do better every day.

I personally think the paper is much better now than it was this time last year. I tried to address every issue you raised. In regard to the three cited most, I think we have made significant improvement. Our print quality has improved, our content is more local, and we have fewer mistakes in the paper than we did have. I also think we have a good team in our newsroom right now.

 But it’s not about what I think. It’s about what you think. Now through the end of the month we will run the survey again and in November I will give the results in a much shorter presentation than last year. Then we will focus our efforts on those items.

It’s important that everyone understand this paper is a for-profit business. Like any other business in town, we need to be able to cover our expenses plus have a little extra coming in each year. Yes, we also provide a community service, but we also need the support of the community as subscribers, purchasers of single copies and as advertisers. A newspaper’s relationship with its community is symbiotic. The community needs a local paper, and the local paper needs the support of the community.

I am asking for your support. I am asking you to renew your subscription if you already have one, to get a subscription if you’re only buying single copies right now, and to advertise in your local paper in addition to any other advertising you’re doing. I am also asking you to urge your friends and family to support the paper as well.

I know there are a lot of people out there who used to take the paper and don’t currently. I hear all the time how bad the paper is, from people who haven’t even looked at it in more than a year! It’s time they either give the JDP a second chance or stop complaining about it.

And to all those who only read the paper online, you need to know the day is coming when you will no longer be able to do so for free. The newspaper industry was crazy to give its product away for free online all these years. In this economy, that cannot continue. If you enjoy your paper online, you will probably enjoy it even more once we implement our e-edition. It will be an exact copy of the paper online with all of the ads and everything else. The cost will vary greatly based on whether you are a current subscriber to the print version. I know some people aren’t going to like this change. But it is necessary for us to remain viable.

So, please fill out the survey on Page 11 of today’s paper and turn it in. Try to find at least one good thing to say, because the staff has worked really hard and positive feedback from someone other than me would be a big encouragement to them. As for the rest, just know that we will continue to strive to live up to the community’s expectations.

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