Donna Etchey
Donna Etchey, General Manager/Advertising Director, Sound Publishing, and Terry Ward, Regional Publisher for West Sound, Sound Publishing, presented our program on August 5th.
Donna noted that people often ask if newspapers are dying. Her answer was that they obviously are not, with Sound Publishing’s growth from 15 to 45 papers and 500 employees during her involvement with the company. She explained that what has changed is the nature of the content delivery, which is now both paper and Internet based.
Terry Ward
Terry offered some insight into why he is in the business. He described growing up with a mother and siblings that had to earn their money as migrant workers and sleep in parks. His life was changed by a newspaper publisher who offered him a job as a reporter, in spite of his lack of training in journalism, and who trained him in all aspects of running a newspaper. From that experience, he developed his own mission to: 
  • Invest in others 
  • Give back 
  • Support community journalism 
He explained he sees the role of their newspapers is to “inform folks” and to “offer them an opportunity to speak back.” His view is that community journalism has a bright future and that the reason newspapers fail is the same as any business that fails - poor management. He said many of the newspaper failures are driven by investors who “strip mine” the newspapers they buy, hoping to make bigger profits.
Finally, Donna offered a handout of contacts for submitting stories to the various Sound Publishing newspapers and encouraged people to get submissions in early. In answer to a question, Terry explained that not all stories make the paper because they have to exercise editorial judgment to deal with space limitations in a particular issue. He also pointed out that some things that do not make the print edition may be found in the on-line version. In answer to another question, he noted that they have abandoned the dedicated “apps.” Instead, they design their Web pages to work with both desktop and mobile devices.