H. Brandt Ayers, publisher of The Star and chairman of Consolidated Publishing Co., writing in his column today, says that the campaign is a reminder that “your local paper and its website are the only source of news in what is an information-blackout region.” He added that the home-owned daily cares “more about you and the place where you live than any other place or people in the world.”
In the coming weeks, The Star will attempt to reinforce that message, publishing ads that illustrate examples of the kinship shared between the newspaper and its readers.
Robert Jackson, the newspaper’s vice president for sales, said the campaign “highlights the relationship between the newspaper and the communities it serves. The bond is a unique one, and even though it isn’t a perfect union, The Star has recorded life as it’s lived in our area of the state for over 125 years. No other media in northeast Alabama can make a similar claim, not even close.”
Jackson credits The Birmingham News’ “This Is Our Story” marketing campaign that began earlier this year for inspiration.
“Traditionally, newspapers haven’t been the world’s best marketers,” he said. “Because our industry expends so much of our available energy and time on reporting, selling advertising, producing and distributing products in a 24/7 environment, we tend to not emphasize promoting ourselves as effectively as we should.”
“Never underestimate the value of your local newspaper,” said Cindy Durham, assistant executive director of Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. “It’s an important part of the fabric that ties communities together. Newspapers keep readers informed, help local businesses connect with their customers, and allow the voice of the community to shine on their editorial pages.”
Liz Parker, president of the National Newspaper Association, said she has noticed similar newspaper promotions in Missouri, Texas, Tennessee and elsewhere.
“Local newspapers are America’s bedrock foundation for democracy and community life,” Parker said. “We are in our community’s schools, our town halls, at the football games Friday night and church suppers on Sunday. We record residents’ births, marriages and death. We are in the communities we serve, and we live and breathe it every day.”
Jackson said a committee including Ayers and representatives from every department of the newspaper met over several months, tossing around ideas to promote The Star.
“The family that owns Consolidated Publishing Company puts an extremely high value on community commitment, so that theme instantly became the focal point for this campaign,” Jackson said.