I have been in the newspaper business for 32 years, and my father was a publisher for more than 30 years. Among the things I learned early is you do not let your advertisers dictate the news, and you ensure your newsroom walks down the middle of whatever issue is at hand.
Our readers ask for and demand fair and accurate coverage and deserve nothing less. If you do otherwise, it will cast doubt on your credibility. Without credibility, a newspaper really has nothing left. Oh, that paper might still have readers, but sooner or later they will catch on.
Many of you already know I had two stints at the McDuffie Progress. The first was in 1989 for two years when I started the home delivery program for the paper and the Total Market Coverage product, The Dollar Saver, and also sold advertising. I went back there in 1996 as publisher.
I got to thinking the other day: If we held a reunion of former publishers of the Progress from the past 20 years, who would be on the invitation list? In chronological order they would be Jerry Whittle, Ted Delaney, me, Larry Martin, Keith Foutz, Jim Murray, Matt Reynolds and Jennifer Allen.
Mysteriously missing from this invite list is Michael Schuver, who never rose above the rank of general manager at the Progress during the 18 months or so of his stay here in the late '80s. I think he left in early 1990.
A story on the front page of the Jan. 20 Progress naming Schuver's son, Justin, as editor says: "Schuver is the son of former Progress publisher, Michael Schuver." Is this little discrepancy a big deal? No. But is it true? Also no.
If this reunion were to actually take place, I am sure we'd have a blast as the topic of conversation would be a common one.
I mentioned Total Market Coverage earlier. A TMC product is one that is delivered directly to nonsubscribers. That is what it is designed to do, anyway. It is a good marketing tool, because if a resident does not subscribe to your paper, then you can sell the advertiser on the fact if they run in both they will reach nearly 100 percent of the households in a community.
Do we have a TMC in McDuffie County? Not as far as I can tell but the Progress is claiming they do. On their rate card it states they are printing 17,300 copies of the Dollar Saver and that it is delivered directly to residents. I've never received one in either my mail or my driveway. Nor has any of the other staff, friends or anyone else I have asked about this. And I have asked a lot of people. The only place I have found these are piled up in a few racks.
If you really want to save a dollar, please keep reading your best source of local news and advertising: The McDuffie Mirror.