Acquisition news is good news

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Since last week's big announcement about Rust Communications' acquisition of The Monett Times, there have been a number of individuals in the community who have questioned me about the transition and what it means for the Cassville Democrat. They want to know how I'll split my time between the two publications and whether or not it will affect the quality of the newspaper.

First of all, let me make it very clear that this acquisition is good news for both the Cassville Democrat and The Monett Times. In this economic environment when newspapers are closing their doors or declaring bankruptcy, it's exciting to know that companies are still making investments in community newspapers. Recent financial data collected by the National Newspaper Association (NNA) and the Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) shows that community newspapers have weathered the financial storms better than their big city counterparts, and our newspaper is a perfect example of that fact. The results of the NNA and SNA data analysis show that community newspapers are not experiencing the massive advertising revenue declines that are being felt by others in the industry and staff reductions are less.

It's important for our readers to know that the Cassville Democrat will continue its tradition of excellence, "covering Barry County like the morning dew" and providing our readers with timely information that is pertinent to their lives and their communities. We have established ourselves as this county's best news source, and that commitment continues. With The Monett Times as a sister newspaper, the Cassville Democrat has only strengthened its position in the county. This partnership will enhance the service and reach we can offer our advertisers, and by sharing some of our resources, both newspapers will operate more efficiently and effectively.

My role at the Cassville Democrat will change as I take over the editorship of The Times, but I will remain very involved and connected to the Cassville Democrat. Rust has asked me to coordinate the news gathering efforts of both newspapers, so I will split my time between the two offices. It's definitely a challenge, but one I am excited to embark upon, and I think the end result will be two improved newspapers.

As was also announced last week, Lindsay Reed has been promoted to editor of the Cassville Democrat. This is a promotion that is well deserved, and I would never have considered accepting the editor's job with The Monett Times unless I was sure Lindsay was ready and willing to take on this new responsibility. Lindsay and I have worked side by side for four years, and I have watched with pride as she has developed into a very talented newswoman. Lindsay is a gifted writer and a very good interviewer who makes people feel at ease. I have no doubts whatsoever that Lindsay is ready for this new position and the new responsibilities that come with it. As executive editor, I will serve in an advisory capacity, and I'm looking forward to helping Lindsay guide the newspaper and improve upon it. I hope the Barry County community will welcome Lindsay in her new role as they did me 15 years ago. She is an outstanding young woman who will be an exemplary editor. This community is lucky to have her.

The Cassville Democrat has been around for 138 years, and it is our intention that the newspaper to be here for the next 138 years. Mike and I are invested in this community and in this newspaper, and so is Rust Communications. A healthy newspaper is an indicator of a healthy economy; so it's exciting to think that a company like Rust would make this type of investment in Cassville, Monett and Barry and Lawrence counties.

My door remains open to anyone who would like to come by and talk about the newspaper and its future. I know Lindsay is also the type of editor who embraces feedback and input from the communities the Democrat serves. My e-mail is cassvilledemocrat@mchsi.com and Lindsay's is democratnews@mchsi.com. We'd love to hear from you, especially if you have ideas on how we can improve our newspaper.