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Newspapers maintain viability in technological world

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FromEditorsDesk TonyBy Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Recently, an area Chamber of Commerce, of which our newspapers have membership, hosted a lunch presentation, attended by a colleague, which I’m guessing is a regular occurrence.

On this particular day, the speaker, whose name I don’t know, spoke about newspapers and claimed that this particular brand of mass communication was ineffective.

This was during a week when the Polk County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices praised the local and area media outlets, including the newspapers, for its assistance in getting the word out about a missing child.

The sheriff said the work done by all areas of the media was deeply appreciated.

So where’s the disconnect?

Sometimes daily, sometime less frequently, newspapers strive to keep the subscribers and perusers of our wares informed about the coverage area. That information includes stories about achievements, stories about legislative bodies and their doings, advertising and the accomplishments of the schools, be it sports or academic.

Newspapers put forth information about upcoming events, showcase slices of life in a community, and does it in a manner that has a long, probably infinite shelf life.

It also has a portability that things like laptops and cell phones don’t have, meaning you can take it with you anywhere and use it — the loo, the library, the park and even an airplane, where the information is readily available and isn’t bound by FAA rules since it doesn’t pose a threat to airplane electronics.

There’s more to it as well. A newspaper has a longevity that television, radio and even the internet don’t enjoy. I have given talks to groups about the newspaper business, and one of the opening questions I ask is for someone to recount to me the last radio ad they heard, or the last television ad they saw, or if anyone looks at the webpage drivel on sponsored copy and clickbait.

The internet, particularly the “free” places like Pinterest, Facebook and the like, have their uses (it’s one of the numerous methods we in the news business employ), but for the most part, unless you’re online at the time something is posted, or on a marathon scroll through a feed, chances are a specific piece of information is gone.

You can always pick up a newspaper again.

Then there’s sharing. If someone sends you a link to an article, you may or may not look into it, but chance are that piece has gone into the great ether in the sky. Newspapers benefit from what’s called readership — meaning that on average, 2.5 people read one newspaper. The math then becomes simple: deliver 1,000 copies of a newspaper and present your information to 2,500 people.

To say that newspapers have reached the end of their viability is ridiculous. They are an effective way to reach a large section of society, and particularly those in the communities in East Texas.

Try putting the picture of your star athlete on the refrigerator if it’s on an iPad. You’ll need a really strong magnet or a lot of duct tape.

Towny Farkas is publisher of the San Jacinto News-Times and the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The views expressed here avre his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.

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