Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

These are interesting times in the newspaper business. Not so much of it relates to the pandemic. The internet has become a change factor in the way we do business, yet there is a segment of the population (mostly senior citizens) who still want the feel of a newspaper for informational purposes and completely ignores what can be found online. Ten percent of Americans have no internet access at all and most of them like it that way.

 

Editorially this newspaper goes beyond the traditional use of reporters, since the advertising revenues do not support them as was the case prior to the 2008 recession. Our editorial content can now be attributed to about 25% from paid writers and photographers (down from about 50%), 25% from volunteer writers, 25% from public relations professionals and 25% from journalism interns.

Our revenue streams have declined from paid print space to internet sales, ads that pay according to toll-free number calls, advertorials (paid editorial features) and even donations. There has been a trend among news sources to solicit donations to cover production costs and we jumped on that bandwagon more than a year ago with some success.

Another trend among newspapers is to become non-profit organizations. In recent years a major daily newspaper and one Southern California weekly newspaper have been successful doing this. It can be effective in certain business sectors – especially healthcare – but it’s not a panacea. The filing of nonprofit paperwork can be just a challenging as print advertising sales, so many of us choose to go the old-fashion way.

Now government is getting on the bandwagon by proposing tax relief for community newspapers. The phase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” comes to mind, meaning “Run fast in the opposite direction.”

One lesson learned early from self-employment is the importance of having multiple revenue streams. If one channel dries up another will typically increase. For this reason, we list our business services as public relations, advertising and publishing. It also helps to have income from real estate as a secret weapon.

All of this boils down to the fact that change is inevitable, and we must adapt to the changing times to be successful. You too are part of this equation, especially if you want the Fourth Estate to keep a check on local government and provide local news. Your advertisements and your donations are the best way to achieve this.

 

Speaking of corrupt government, we’ve been asking our readers which local elected officials are doing a good job of representing you. An astounding 52% said “none of the above.” City Prosecutor Douglas Haubert and 3rd District Councilwoman Suzie Price did get high marks in this regard at 15% each.

Now we are asking the same question from the opposing point of view: “Which local elected officials are doing a poor job of representing Long Beach residents.” Go to www.beachcomber.news and vote at the bottom of page one. We’ll report the results in an upcoming issue of the Beachcomber.

 

A reader sent us the following classic quotes:

  • “The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.” – Al McGuire
  • “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein
  • “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” – Ambrose Bierce
  • “It would be nice to spend billions on schools and roads, but right now that money is desperately needed for political ads.” – Andy Borowitz
  • “At every party there are two kinds of people – those who want to go home and those who don’t. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.” – Ann Landers
  • “My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right.” – Ashleigh Brilliant
  • “Have you noticed that all the people in favor of birth control are already born?” – Benny Hill

 

publisher@beachcomber.news

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