Arkansas Baptist News
I have been privileged the past couple years to attend the Arkansas Press Association annual SuperConference. This year’s meeting was in Hot Springs.
It’s a gathering of reporters, editors and publishers from across the state who discuss strategies, trends and the current status of the newspaper industry.
In one breakout session about how to increase revenue, conference leaders and attendees discussed how newspapers are once again gaining ground with advertisers and marketers because, simply, “they produce results.”
While it is clear that newspapers are in a state of general decline, millions of people still pick up a newspaper every day – or access a related newspaper product – to find out what is going on in the world.
Successful newspapers today continue to diversify their offerings by coupling a print product (traditional newspaper) with online media and social media and through alternative publishing avenues.
While a lot of what was being discussed was positive toward the newspaper business, I heard a disturbing assessment about the general state of the Arkansas economy.
One executive said his newspaper was having to deal with adjusting to a more than $100,000 loss in revenue due to two automobile dealerships closing in his town.
In general, it was agreed that some of the hardest hit areas across the state are in rural areas and small towns. These areas, of course, are where many of our Southern Baptist churches are located.
The Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) has been affected by general economic downturn since 2008 in the loss of churches with “every resident” subscription plans.
While some people in the churches that cancel their church plans still subscribe as individuals, they amount to far fewer than the dozens or hundreds who subscribed through a church plan.
Not once since I have been editor of the ABN can I recall a church canceling subscriptions because it did not like our newspaper – it is always attributed to financial difficulties of the church, and in some cases, because the church is disbanding.
In months to come, the ABN will be announcing some exciting changes in your state Baptist newspaper.
Look for more pages and more color, a new easier-to-read design, as well as many other exciting changes as we embrace a bright future!
Tim Yarbrough is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News.