Circulation strong, newspaper execs say

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 8, 2015

“Print is dead,” the nonbelievers have proclaimed. However, print circulation in Mississippi remains strong, and overall readership has never been higher, said Layne Bruce, Mississippi Press Association Executive Director.

The ArkLaMiss Circulation & Marketing Conference made its return to Vicksburg this past week to talk about just these kinds of issues.

The association has been coming together for this conference for about 20 years, Bruce said.

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“For most of those years we’ve been in Vicksburg,” he said. “It’s a collection of newspaper managers and circulation and marketing experts from papers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.”

All in all, Bruce said the conference brings in about 60 people from across the three states.

“Primarily we’re concerned with marketing newspaper products in print and online, whatever our products might be, and reminding readers and potential readers that newspaper media in each of our three states are in most communities the primary source of local news and advertisement,” he said.

Bruce said the conference consists of speakers who come in to discuss how newspaper professionals can increase paid circulation and broaden the audience.

“That’s the name of the game,” he said. “We want to grow the audience no matter what the channel is: newspaper, website, online or mobile.”

Bruce said there is no doubt that paid newspaper circulation has been challenged in the last decade, but readers are still accessing the news content more than ever.

“It’s important to note that print newspaper readership in Mississippi remains very strong,” he said. “An even more important point to make on our part is that our overall audience has never been larger.”

Arkansas Press Association Executive Director Tom Larimer said this was his 12th time to attend the conference.

“It’s grown in popularity simply because of the challenges newspapers face today,” he said. “We have had to get very creative and resourceful to maintain our position in the market.”

Larimer said circulation is one of the main keys to keeping a newspaper alive.

“I published newspapers for a lot of years, and it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your newsroom collecting news and putting it all together in a really nice package, if you can’t get it delivered, you’re done,” he said. “We’ve depended on these people for years to deliver the end product, and they do a darn good job of it.”