OHT Customer The Recorder Shines Bright in New Report

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The Recorder, a local newspaper covering three rural counties in western Virginia, was recently featured in a PBS NewsHour segment about the sustainability of local journalism. Additionally, The Recorder was singled out this year as one of 17 “Bright Spots” for local news outlets, as part of the 2023 “State of Local News Project” published by the Local News Initiative at Northeastern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

The report, in addition to providing detailed data on many downward trends in the publishing space, also highlights news outlets that are progressing towards stable, sustainable models while providing their communities with excellent journalism.

We are excited to see The Recorder recognized on both fronts as a newspaper that is managing to survive and even thrive in a difficult media landscape. To help support local papers like those highlighted as Bright Spots, Our-Hometown continues to develop partnerships through our Digital Initiative program to help local newspapers establish and maintain a web presence to reach new audiences.

In the PBS piece, Recorder owner, publisher and editor Anne Adams shared the keys to the newspaper’s success in continuing to publish for over 140 years. She said raising subscription rates and focusing on high quality journalism have been central to their strategy. As Adams recognizes, “Folks need to know what’s going on. They need to know their neighbors. They need to know what’s happening, how their money is being spent.” This driving mission to serve the local community is essential to The Recorder’s success.

Readers recognize and are willing to pay for the value provided by The Recorder’s news coverage and connection to the community. The paper has boldly raised its newsstand price over the years, despite industry pressures, charging $5 a copy where most local papers cost $1-2. They also nearly doubled their online subscription rate in 2017. Adams took a risk that readers would be loyal, and many stepped up during the pandemic with donations when the paper was close to shutting down. The Recorder has continued to break important local stories, like being the first to report on the proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would have impacted the region.

At The Recorder, it’s all hands on deck to sustain operations, as Adams makes clear: “We’re not going to kill it off on my watch. We’ll do whatever we have to do.” This grit and adaptability is enabling the paper to continue informing its loyal readers.

At Our-Hometown, we love seeing customers like The Recorder stay afloat by relying on their communities. As more newspapers unfortunately disappear across the country, this offers some hope. The Recorder’s deep ties and responsive approach enables them to give residents what they need – connection and information to stay engaged citizens. We’re proud to support The Recorder’s online efforts Their success demonstrates how papers large and small can understand the changing landscape and pivot to sustain themselves over the long term.

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