Running a newspaper is not much different than running any other small business.
All successful businesses work to give customers what they want at a fair price so they continue to be their customer and tell friends and family about their products and services.
If you are a restaurant, you offer a menu filled with dishes customers have asked for and prepared by the best chef in town. If you are a retail store, you sell products people want so they come back and shop again.
At The Laker/Lutz News, our customers are both readers and advertisers. We know that if we give you stories and information about people and issues that are important to you, you will read your paper cover to cover, week after week, and share what you’ve read with family and friends.
And we know that your readership has a direct impact on the bottom line of our other customer — businesses that advertise in our papers. The better and more completely you read your paper, the more you will take note of the adjacent ads.
Which brings me to why we’re making some changes to the kinds of stories we write in The Laker/Lutz News.
Last spring we hired an independent research company to ask readers what type of news they want in their community paper. This was done in conjunction with our annual circulation audit that verifies the number of papers we print and deliver.
This study revealed the No. 1 reason people like you read The Laker/Lutz News is to learn about things to do in their community. Our best-read section is What’s Happening with its news briefs about upcoming activities and events.
Because readers put What’s Happening at the top of their list, we’re expanding this section and increasing our coverage of community events before they take place. B.C. Manion, our community editor for the past three years, is taking on this charge and welcomes suggestions on events you’d like to see covered.
The second topic most requested is business news.
You want to know what’s coming when you see a new commercial building underway. You want to know about local road improvements and how they will impact your drive to work. You are curious about local businesses, big and small, and are looking for new places to shop and professional services in your neighborhood.
To increase our business coverage, in late July we hired Michael Hinman as our news editor because of his community and business journalism background. In addition to working for several area weekly newspapers, Michael spent five years as a reporter at the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
You may have already noticed that there’s more business news in your paper. Last week, for example, we were the first to report on the expansion of Florida Medical Clinic’s new facilities in Zephyrhills and Carrollwood. This week we have a story on the elevated expressway for SR 54 that’s being proposed by a private developer.
I began this column talking about the importance of giving customers what they want. That’s why we’re committing more of our resources to stories you want to read. And why you’re seeing more stories about upcoming events, local businesses and growth and development.
With more than 60,000 readers, it’s impossible to give every single person everything they want in their community paper. But know that we’re acting on the best information we have to give you the kinds of stories you tell us you’re most interested in reading in The Laker/Lutz News.