To quote America’s Poet Laureate Bob Dylan: The times are a changing.
That was never made more clear to me than last week when I attended the national newspaper MEGA conference in San Diego, California. Vendors from all points of the country with their fingers in every conceivable part of the industry were there showing off their new platforms and ventures. It was a real eye opener to say the least.
Before taking over as publisher of the Gonzales Inquirer I was the regional manager for all the Gannett daily newspapers in Michigan, including the Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal and USA Today to name but a few publications. Gannett is a state-of-the-art newspaper chain, so I thought I had seen just about everything there was to see in the newspaper business. The MEGA conference in San Diego, however, blew me away. There were companies with numerous social media platforms, new content systems, new data collection and retrieval archives, and a host of other innovative concepts.
There were a number of things that I not only saw but learned from this convention. Some of them will impact this newspaper directly.
The most important take away was newspaper archiving. The Gonzales Inquirer is the oldest continuously operated newspaper in the state of Texas. It dates back to 1853, making this newspaper 165 years old. Unfortunately, not all of the back issues of this newspaper are archived, so we are at risk of losing some of the historical content due to age and wear. Or I should say, were at risk.
In San Diego, I met with two different companies that can handle the archiving and digitization of the Gonzales Inquirer. It will take a little time to catch up, but when we are done getting all the back issues digitized, anyone will be able to go online and research our records and database. In addition, thanks to a few offers from local historians, it is our intention to place the hardcover bound volumes in our local library—if they will accept them.
Another exciting venture we will be undertaking is data collection, where we will be able to better serve our readers and members of the community by providing additional information in areas of interest that you have specifically identified as an area of interest. We will send that information directly to you. This will take time to set up the parameters of what we are doing, but it is my hope that we will deliver even more relevant content and information directly to you through various platforms that will better serve your interests and the interests of our business partners.
Those are the most important two things we will do right away, but there are other things you will see us do in the next few months that will provide more service to the entire community. Since we have not contracted with those companies at this time, I am not at liberty to disclose the exciting announcements we will have coming in the next few months.
And finally, here are some observations about San Diego, California. It is a marvelous and beautiful city, and a gem along the Pacific. If you have never visited, you owe it to yourself to experience it. We went to great restaurants, great historic neighborhoods, whale watching, beach gazing and playing, took a tour of the aircraft carrier USS Midway, went to Balboa Park and even the San Diego Zoo. I was there over a week and did not get to see everything, but there is a lot to see and do there.
So stay Classy San Diego—I will see you again.