When your newspaper is the news, suddenly you’re thrust into the role of the person, the business, or the organization that gets a story published about them in the paper.
People jump to conclusions based on what they read — or what they think they read, or the headline and lede they read — and there you are doing PR and damage control and trying to ease fears and correct misconceptions and wow it’s just not that easy, especially if you’ve been doing business in the same town for a long time.
Now of course, if you follow said business, newspapering or otherwise, you’re more than familiar with the ins and outs of a purchase or sale by a certain company, you know what it means, you know where the jobs will ebb and flow, and you can make some solid predictions and act accordingly.
But if you don’t… if you just dip in and out of concerns about said business from time to time, when serendipity strikes… but because the name of the local newspaper is plastered in every box on many streetcorners in town…
An interesting week reading e-mails and comment threads about what’s going on in the business end of the newspaper I work at. It’s only going to get uglier, I’m afraid, as the aforementioned ebb and flow continues. (That’s my completely personal opinion based on publicly available information.)
There are so many things about our business that our readers don’t know. To twist a phrase, this is the one situation where our readers know less than we do. How do we tell them that?