Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/16/2010

Online Presence Strengthens Newspapers


Here’s one example of how going online has actually strengthened the economical position of three newspapers now owned by The Tennessee Valley Printing Co.

Bayne Hughes of the Decatur Daily News reports:

While newspapers elsewhere are struggling in a bad economy, publisher Clint Shelton is moving to put his newspapers in a position of strength.

Shelton became publisher of The Decatur Daily in January upon the retirement of his father, Barrett Shelton Jr.

The younger Shelton has spent the last year merging the operations of three newspapers under the umbrella of the Tennessee Valley Printing Co.

The Decatur Daily’s parent company will celebrate its one-year anniversary on March 31 as owner of The TimesDaily in Florence. The company bought the Moulton Advertiser in October 2007.

Introduced by Mark Maloney, Shelton told the Rota­ry Club of Decatur on Monday that 2009 was one of the “most exhilarating of my career.”

Director of Operations Scott Brown is leading a merger of the papers’ printing, circulation, human resources and classified services.

The TimesDaily’s former parent company, the New York Times, used a call center in the Philippines to deal with customers’ circulation problems.

The Daily now has a call center in Decatur for the three newspapers.

Customer satisfaction

Shelton said the call center has been particularly well received in Florence because customers talk to a Southern voice when they call with a complaint.

On April 1, the company will convert to a Publishing Business System for retail advertising and circulation billing and the Advanced Technical Solutions system for classifieds.

The new classifieds system will allow customers to cross advertise between the three papers and add a searchable database for readers.

The company has been building its online presence and now has nine Web sites.

These include each newspaper’s site and additional sites that focus on areas such as car sales, jobs, real estate and prep sports.

Before the purchase of the TimesDaily, the Sheltons were saving money to replace an aging offset press that The Daily bought when Clint Shelton, 46, was not yet a year old.

But he got a call that the TimesDaily was for sale and bought the newspaper. The purchase solved The Daily’s press problem.

Because the TimesDaily’s press is 14 years old, the first major transition after the sale was the merger of the printing and mailroom operations of The Daily and the Florence paper at Florence.

On the Net

The Tennessee Valley Printing Co. now has nine Web sites:

decaturdaily.com: Local news

timesdaily.com: Local news

moultonadvertiser.com: Local news

tnvalleywheels.com: Autos

tnvalleyhomefinder.com: Real estate

tnvalleyjobfinder.com: Employment

tnvalleysearch.com: Local news and business search

tnvalleynow.com: Contests

tnvalleypreps.com: High school sports

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