Hyperlocal Holliston Reporter Charting New Territory
by Bobby Blair 11/14/12
Are printed newspapers headed the way of the horse and buggy?
Unless you own a horse it's very unlikely that you know someone in the profession of being a blacksmith. In fact ask a local teen what a blacksmith does and you may be amused at the answer. Ask that same teen where they get their news from and one of their last answers may or may not be from a print newspaper. One teen on Yahoo! Answers wrote that 16% of the age group between 18 and 30 years of age reads a print newspaper.
Recent news that Newsweek Magazine will halt production of its printed edition on December 31st added to the number of publications which have been folding in recent years due increased competition from the Internet. Locally, both the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram had instituted a paywall for their online editions within the past year. The Globe features a double venue presence with Boston.com being free to readers. The Telegram & Gazette allows readers a minimal number of stories to be read per month before the viewer is asked to loosen the purse string.
The MetroWest Daily News parent organization Gatehouse Media continues to tread through troubled times with decreased revenues for the third quarter of 2012 down by 3.4% compared to the prior year. Gatehouse faces a 1.2 BILLION (that's a B folks) debt which will come due in 2014. This may answer the question why MWDN rarely or infrequently sends a reporter to cover local Holliston board meetings. Holliston's other online news presence, AOL's Patch which over the summer morphed into the Holliston/Hopkinton Patch appears to be imploding.
A recent notice of a Holliston man's death on the Holliston-Hopkinton Patch stated that the man was buried in Lake Grove Cemetery. Unfortunatley, the man's funeral had yet to be held. When it comes to sources of local or hyperlocal information don't discount several Holliston-oriented sites on Facebook. Topping the list is I'm Happy Holliston. This site mainly visited by women is looking for its 1000th member before the New Year begins. A hodgepodge of information, the site tells you everything from where to deliver goods for Hurricane Sandy relief to suggestions about who is the best electrician or puppy trainer in town. You know your from Holliston if ..... is another locally focused Facebook site which is better geared for those who grew up in town. If going down memory lane is your thing give it a try. You'll be surprised just how much you have forgotten over the years. This site boasts 1,969 members but doesn't seem as active as I'm Happy Holliston. If your interest is slightly geared toward the macabre then Hollistonians now gone --- gone but never forgotten ... may be your cup of tea. With 237 members the site which appears fairly new does seem to fill a gap, I'm just not sure I'd like to visit the site on a regular basis.
And back to our headline for this story. Whatever this electronic online newspaper HollistonReporter.com is doing correctly, we don't plan to change anytime soon. The fact of the matter is that we're not quite sure exactly what is driving our readership to never imagined new heights. Created a little over 4 1/2 years ago, the HollistonReporter.com had community interaction as our top goal. Financial gains were never part of our business model. Somehow our expectations have been realized. The day of the Presidential Election saw our unique visitors reach a new high of 4,443. Readership for the past 30 days was a huge 102,447. Unique visitors and page turns accounted for 258,599 articles being read. Grab those old newspapers to line the parrot cage before they go the way of the blacksmith.
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