Thursday August 21, 2014; 07:02 pm EDT
How Big Is Your Neighborhood?
Can readers see beyond the block to the big picture?
A small slice of Chesapeake Country gets a new newspaper this week. Starting May 6, The Chesapeake Current promises to appear in print and online every-other Thursday.
The new arrival has nothing to do with Bay Weekly.
But the birth of any newspaper, like the birth of a new baby, is good news. It’s an act of faith in the future that brings a smile to the face of even experienced mothers, who know the truth and trouble that lie ahead.
Newspapers are not as risky an enterprise as restaurants, but early mortality is high. Way more start-ups end up as memories than as survivors.
So you’ve got to be thinking positively to start a newspaper. That was true even before the great electronic shakeup we’re living through, when newspapers discovered they could no longer take their readers and advertisers for granted.
To start a newspaper today, you’ve got to believe in the future.
You’ve got to believe the recession is drawing in its teeth, and that its big-bad-wolf hunger is nearly satiated.
You’ve got to believe that people still read, and that you can give them reading of so much value that they’ll give their time to you — instead of to the computer/
iBook/video game/television/iPod x or even real life.
Newspaper analysts, who say they’ve got the future figured out, will tell you that the only news people value nowadays is local.
In Northern Anne Arundel County, the Severna Park Voice — which was founded in 1981 — now also offers neighbors in Pasadena the Pasadena Voice. The Voices are monthly, so their news isn’t exactly new, but it includes lots of local sports.
The new Chesapeake Current — which had been marketing itself as The Chesapeake Gazette until a couple of days ago — promises to be very local, too.
Its near relations — The Southern Calvert Gazette and the County Times of St. Mary’s — are both focused locally.
“We hope to really get the pulse of the community,” managing editor Bryan Jaffe said when the eldest sister, The County Times, began publication in 2006. Its publisher is Thomas McKay, a Republican politician and of the McKay grocery family.
About 100,000 people live in St. Mary’s County, so it’s a pretty big community.
Much more local is the second sister in the Southern Maryland Publishing Company family. The Southern Calvert Gazette covers just Solomons and Lusby.
The youngest sister, The Chesapeake Current is also aimed at a local target. If you live in or visit a narrow band of Southern Anne Arundel or Northern Calvert stretching from the Twin Beaches to Wayson’s Corner, its anticipated publication schedule means you should be able to pick it up every other week.
The kind of hyper-local coverage I imagine readers will find in The Chesapeake Current — or in its sisters or in the northern Voices — isn’t our thing at Bay Weekly.
Our vision is and has always been one of a greater regional community, one of shared interest, where the people throughout the area see their successes and challenges mirrored and enhanced in the experience of their neighbors.
As a community of shared interests, we’re mobile as well. Among our more than 50,000 readers — week in and week out for 17 years — are the Bowie couple who keep their boat in Solomons, pick us up at a restaurant there, and follow our stories and ads up Routes 2 and 4 through Annapolis and into Severna Park, stopping and shopping all along the way. We tie it all together.
Sandra Olivetti Martin
editor and publisher; firstname.lastname@example.org