We purchased the Sebring News Sun newspaper last Tuesday. I’d like to take this opportunity to address all of our employees, news correspondents and delivery partners on why we made this acquisition. Readers and advertisers are welcome to follow along.
We believe in a bright future for community news and advertising. That does not mean the future will be easy — just that if we work hard and compete intelligently, the future will be ours to create. With all the innovation of the past 100 years, the local newspaper is still the primary source for local news and local advertising.
We create a unique news product every day. Each new day, that requires significant news gathering, analysis and writing. The Internet and mobile news sites are ways to extend our reach — not a replacement for the labor intensive news gathering required to properly serve a local community. The privilege of fulfilling a community’s need for local news will be ours as long as we stay true to the mission of helping our communities become a better place to live.
Likewise, we are still the number one local advertising partner because no national company has been able to replicate what a local newspaper does to create local sales for local companies. Yes, the Internet has replaced yellow pages for search. But local merchants are more swamped than ever with places to put their money — reputation management, search engine advertising, search engine optimization, websites, Facebook, Twitter and email.
This is in addition to the traditional players crossing their doorway like cable, TV, radio, magazines, and specialty promotion products. With even more marketing choices, it is now even more difficult for the local business to know where to put their money to get advertising results.
As long as we focus on creating compelling advertising that works for our advertisers, instead of just taking their money for ad space, we will have a successful growing business as we do now.
With so many other needs inside our company, why buy Sebring now? We purchased Sebring now for three reasons: 1) Sebring is already a part of the community that we serve with our existing papers in Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, Highlands and Polk counties; 2) It was available now; 3) The purchase will increase our financial strength as a company making it easier to meet our other needs.
The Sebring News Sun more fully adds to a geographic community we serve in our newspaper footprint between the newspapers we own in Lake Placid and Arcadia to the south and west and Bartow, Lake Wales, Frostproof and Fort Meade to the north. There should be opportunities for advertising and news sharing we don’t have today.
The acquisition utilizes our existing building, presses and distribution equipment. That, along with the advertising and news sharing opportunities that come with The Sebring News Sun acquisition should strengthen our resources as a company — benefiting not only our employees but also the communities we serve. It is our goal to be a stronger, safer business as a result of this new addition to our newspaper family.
Every community deserves a top-notch community newspaper — and that’s the business we’re in.
David Dunn-Rankin is the president of the Sun Coast Media Group Inc.