Historic Photos and Newsletters Drive Dollars

The attendees became presenters in a discussion setting.
Photo by Eric Pritchett

Revenue-generating ideas, ranging from leveraging newsletters to selling historic photos, were just a part of the discussion at Tuesday’s News Leaders Association on the topic.

Mitch Pugh, executive editor of The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. led the discussion. “The success of this panel is really you guys’ fault,” adding the solutions come from the discussion, not just one person. The goal was to pick up on a strategy and drive extra money into the newsroom.

Pugh’s staff generated extra income by selling merchandise online. Designers made themed graphics to put on apparel and sent it to a merchandise company to do all the footwork. They chose to feature Charleston, S.C, instead of the newspaper’s masthead. Tourists and locals scoop up the apparel from the website, and the paper profits.

Multiple editors expressed the importance of digging through the archives. Photos of historic events can be sold, and old papers generate revenue on Newspapers.com. Jill Jorden Spitz, editor at the Arizona Daily Star, said her newsroom makes S10,000 a month from Newspaper.com activity.

Star Tribune editor Rene Sanchez shared his success with a subscriber newsletter. Once a month, he sends a “editor’s update” explaining the values and behind-the-scenes of the newsroom. He uses it as an opportunity to thank readers and ask for feedback. Sanchez says it has the highest open rate and led to reader retention during a six-month test.

Peter Kovacs, editor of The Advocate in New Orleans, said he also generated revenue with a newsletter. The business community in Lafayette, LA, reached out to him asking for a local business newsletter. He said if they could provide sponsorships for a year, he’d make it happen. They provided funding, and Kovacs hired two business writers to create the newsletter.

Other formats to consider are books and television. Anniversaries and holidays can be used as news pegs to release a book under the paper’s imprint. 

Companies like Epic Magazine take compelling news stories to option to television studios and streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu.

Event planning also brings profit. Detroit Free Press Photo and Video Director Kathy Kieliszewski explained a dining series, sponsored by Chevrolet, called the “Top 10 Takeover.”  A food critic ranks his top restaurants of the year, and each restaurant has a ticketed meal over the course of a few months.

Stan Wischnowski, executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, recommends creating an event of influential leaders. The Inquirer brings in a panel to choose the most influential leaders in industries like real estate, law and medicine. There’s a networking event for each.

Annelise Hanshaw is a senior at Ball State University, studying magazine journalism with a minor in interior design. You can reach her at annelisehanshaw@gmail.comor at her website, joyrnalism.com

Photographer, Eric Pritchett is a senior at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, majoring in Photojournalism and minoring in scuba. He graduates in December 2019 and can be reached at empritchett@bsu.edu or on his website http://ericpritchett.com/.


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