Riding out a tough economy
You've read about it. You see it on the news every night.
In Port Aransas, it is mostly real estate sales that have slowed in response to dire news out of Washington and Wall Street.
We'll weather the storm, to be sure. We got through the oil bust and savings and loan crises of the 1980s, albeit not unscathed. We'll get through this. How bad the scrapes, bumps, bruises and breaks may be remains to be seen.
Daily newspapers have been scaling back for the past several years due largely to inroads made by techno-media, i.e., the Internet. The economic downturn has caused many of them, specifically the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the San Antonio Express-News, to scale back.
Community, or weekly, newspapers have been less impacted because of the unique service they provide to their communities: strictly local news not found anywhere else.
That ride is over.
The loss of primarily real estate advertising revenues has hit home.
It's not critical, and we hope it won't become critical. But it is making a difference.
At the South Jetty, we are starting to do things differently in an effort to provide as close to the same level of service to our readers as you have come to expect, and even demand.
For example, instead of taking up valuable news space for entry and order forms, those forms will be available on our Web site, www. portasouthjetty.com. No subscription to the online edition will be required to access those forms. For those who do not have Internet access or capability, the forms will be available either at our office or at a location designated by the organization(s) for whom the forms are generated.
We will make adjustments to formulas we've used for years regarding advance publicity for events. It is impossible to make a hard-fast rule that applies to all events, but we will do our best with limited space to serve these groups well.
All stories will be more tightly edited, directing readers to call or go to the South Jetty's Web site or the organization's Web site for more information.
We also will have to be more selective in our use of photos in the print edition and rely more on our online edition's photo "albums" where photos can be viewed and/or purchased.
We will direct readers to "packaged" information with events and activities in list form about on-going and/or long-term programs such as the JELM Center activities and Relay for Life.
We will ask our readers to rely more heavily on the Island agenda, a calendar of events regularly featured on Page 2A.
We don't want to eliminate any of our columnists, so we are asking them to shorten their weekly or monthly submissions.
Readers have let us know they want to read about what's going on at city hall and in our schools, they want us to report on law enforcement activity, environmental and fishing issues and events. Readers buy or subscribe to the South Jetty to find out about events and activities in which they can participate or be spectators. They want arts and entertainment information. They love to read the letters to the editor. They want to know about their churches, those who have been born, and those who have died. They want to know about the accomplishments of our young citizens, when they make the dean's list or graduate from college and when they marry. They look to us to find out about registration for little league baseball and soccer, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
What our readers have told us they really want to read are the ads, especially the classified ads (one the biggest draws of our online edition). We want to fulfill our readers' needs, and even in difficult economic times, we will find a way to continue publishing a quality newspaper that provides information that is important and relative.
With the support of our readers and our advertisers, we can do that.