The Old & the New

The first ever Milton Times Telephone Book went into delivery mode today…

Many copies were delivered by the USPS. Some were dropped in bulk at Fuller Village and Unquity House. We are having more copies delivered to Milton tomorrow from the press. The business day ran out before we were finished.

So far most of the people who have received the book love it. And so do we.

We are already making plans for the 2012 version.

The book that has been delivered was created in partnership with a company that makes a business out of publishing telephone books in small communities. They have a lot of expertise is producing this sort of product.

Our staff believes we can do an even better job on the 2012 issue if we control all the elements.

So the cover this year shows the Baron Hugo Gazebo with Ken Lodge and his orchestra playing at one of the park department summer concerts. Next year what very Milton photo might we use on the cover? That is still to be decided…

 We have a company that enjoys creating print products.

But we have moved into this decade and we are beginning to work on moving to the mobile web.

Our web site hasn’t been tweaked for mobile visitors. But we are working on it.

Before the end of the year we will have an app of our very own.  It will work on iphones and blackberries. I’ve decided to let the bigger papers lose money on marketing to androids. We will stick with the market that has the numbers.

Guns and words

The shootings in Arizona immobilized me yesterday.

I know no one who died or was even present when an unstable young white man opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol on a group of people at political event. A 9-year-old child, a federal judge and four other people were murdered. A Congresswoman whose name I’d never heard before was seriously injured.

Why did I sit by me television all afternoon yesterday watching CNN, worrying about where our country was going?

There were 20 people shot by the unstable man. Three people in the crowd are credited with trying to stop the gunman. In fact they succeeded because the spring the second magazine failed.

The bravery of those few people in the crowd makes me feel there is some hope. I search for more evidence of hope.

The Arizona sheriff made a few comments about the tone of political discourse in this country. No one has said the unstable man was connected with a political group.

The Milton Times, from its inception, has had a policy of refusing to print personal attacks. When we first announced the policy there was considerable testing by some people who wanted to use strong words to get their points across.

Over the years there have been a few times when attack words have slipped through the editting process but not many.

We believe that in a small community, like Milton, it is extremely important that our political leaders set an example for our children. How will our children learn to settle their own disputes?

There are people who believe controversy sells and inflammatory words sell even more. Perhaps that is so.

But there is a high cost for all of us if this is the bottom line.

Will this unstable young man’s actions lead to a cry for more civil debate? Will this incident lead to a discussion of whether automatic weapons should be taken off the retail market?  Indeed should someone be able to prove they are stable before buying a gun?

There is much to think about.

2011 – Will It Improve?

At least once a year, I draw a new plan for the business operation of the Milton Times.

As the year begins I need to look at where we are and where we are going as a newspaper, as a business, as an institution.

The good news is that I am projecting a better year in 2011 than 2010.

This does not mean I expect the advertisters who were spending large amounts in 2008 to be back. Some industries have changed the way they work. So have we.

In the past year the Milton Times created a telephone book. It’s back from the press and will be delivered to Milton residents with the newspaper issue Jan. 20.

We will be putting the list on line using a web site just purchased – www.miltonphonebook.com. The 2011 phone book numbers were purchased by a third party from the telephone company. Obviously cell phones are not included in the listed numbers. But the future may bring a new system for creating the local phone book.

So we have a new product ready for distribution in the beginning days of 2011. And we have plans to add a new web site to our line.

We hope our newspaper will continue to thrive but the best way to ensure our stability is by adding new sources of local information.

People in the news industry are predicting that more advertising money will be spent on APs. Until about six months ago I didn’t know what an AP looked like. Now I’m in the market for one.

The 2012 Milton Phone Book is on our company server already. I think it will be a while before we have an AP ready. But the future will certainly bring new ways of communicating.