By Patrick B. McGuigan
It has been an honor to work with this community newspaper for nearly a decade. As publisher since last year, the kind words of so many readers who appreciate our staff’s commitment to the heart of our town have edified me.
This week, I turn to readers with a specific plea for support.
We need more regularly scheduled advertising, at standard rates in order to continue financing a weekly print product that is delivered directly to many readers in the U.S. mail, or picked up at more than 200 locations around the heart of Oklahoma City.
Our problem is not readership, it is revenue. The problem is not a lack of impact as a source of information (we get hundreds of press releases every week), it is cash flow. The problem is not a lack of commitment (I have not paid myself for newspaper work since last summer), it is a shortage of working capital.
Information on advertising rates is available online at city-sentinel.com/advertise/. The era of 60 to 90 day delays for payment is over and will never return. Pre-payment is strongly preferred. With specific questions, you may contact me via email at [email protected]; or by telephone between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at 405-834-4834 or leave a message at 405-605-6062. I will respond as soon as possible.
For those not able to advertise, please consider a contribution.
Send your check to The City Sentinel, P.O. Box 60876, Oklahoma City, OK 73102. Telephone me if you wish to give us a credit card number (which we will not retain) for a one-time contribution we will process for you.
Without a significant increase in direct advertising or contributed support, The City Sentinel will soon move toward less frequent publication. That may prove necessary, in any case, but we solicit your direct help to meet printing costs and other necessities, including taxes.
In the parlance of economics, I am carefully examining our business model. Things must change soon. We have undertaken a more robust presence online, at our website (city-sentinel.com) and particularly at our Facebook page, and via twitter. That march will continue.
The state’s largest newspaper recently announced new cuts. Scores of newspapers large and small have closed or reduced publication frequency in the past several years. Several dozen fewer weekly newspapers operate in Oklahoma today than when I returned to my home state in 1990.
Locally owned-and-operated newspapers have been an essential part of the American social fabric since the founding of our country. There were more newspapers per capita at that time than we have today. Business models change constantly, but localized content always matters, as it has since the Republic’s founding. With financing and your help, The City Sentinel can sustain that mission in today’s business environment.
Challenges for newspapers in today’s world are manifold, and we are certainly not alone in facing them. I thought it best to be candid with readers about where things stand.
Please consider this matter carefully, and help us with advertising or direct contributions, if you can.