by John Derr, Publisher, Chestnut Hill Local

You may have noted a story in last week’s Chestnut Hill Local under the headline: “CHCA endorses Local line of credit.” In case you missed it, in short, the Chestnut Hill Community Association, owners of the Chestnut Hill Local, endorsed our effort to obtain a $150,000 line of credit, some of which would be used to enact a strategic plan designed to help the Local better fulfill our role in the community as its only local newspaper.

The plan will allow us to expand our coverage and include additional content each week that will make the Local more useful to our current readers who enjoy perusing the paper, as well as more appealing to those who, on a regular basis, deny themselves the pleasure. The plan includes more community contributors providing knowledge from their fields of endeavor. It provides for more photography so the Local can be not just your ears in the community, but your eyes as well. The initiative centers on making the Local more useful to you.

The plan also includes adding to our advertising sales team so we can better serve our business community. An advertisement in the Local should be an investment with an expected return of more customers, higher sales and/or heightened awareness. The readers should find the ads interesting and the advertisers should find their ads effective. We need to staff up in advertising to make sure we have the time and the people to provide the expertise that ensures our advertisers meaningful results.

It is not a secret that newspapers have been contending with financial struggles. The Local is no exception. But we are taking a different approach to rectify that problem. At a time in our history when many newspapers have disappeared from the American landscape and when most that remain are on the well-worn path of trying to cut their way to prosperity, we are setting our course to prosperity the only sustainable way – through growth.

You might ask, “is that possible?” My answer is a firm yes. If every week we provide informative, useful, interesting and engaging content, and if we create opportunities for local businesses to connect with consumers in substantive ways, then, to borrow from William Faulkner, we will not merely endure; we will prevail. Other newspapers have been trying to survive through withdrawing and offering less to its customers. We believe success is rooted in investing and offering more.

That is what the strategic plan and the line of credit is all about. It’s not about helping us to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s about giving us the opportunity to obtain the resources we need to help us grow and be a more compelling and useful publication for readers, a stronger marketing partner for local businesses and an even more relevant voice of, and for, the community.

If you are reading this and thinking, “I love the Chestnut Hill Local; how can I get involved and help?” there are many ways. Encourage neighbors, friends and family to subscribe to the paper or join the CHCA, or you could give subscriptions or memberships as gifts. Support our advertisers and let them know you saw their ads in the Local. If you own a business and have not yet or recently advertised, at least let us talk to you about how we can help your business. Communicate with us and let us know how we can better serve and appeal to the community in our role. Write letters to the editor or take out classified ads, engage with us and help us engage with you. We are all part of the same community. We all have an interest in each other. We all move forward together.

John Derr can be reached at john@chestnuthilllocal.com 

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