Two newspapers powered by SBS Financials were named to Editor & Publisher’s 2020 list of 10 News Publishers That Do It Right and a third received Honorable Mention, it was announced today.
Projects by the Keene Sentinel, Salt Lake Tribune, and the Buffalo News were among the 70 publishers nominated for their “bright and creative ideas taking place around our industry,” according to E&P. Each of the honorees are long-time SBS Financials customers.
Keene Sentinel – Keene, NH
Since 2018, the Keene Sentinel, along with the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, has produced Radically Rural, a two-day summit that features expert speeches, a networking event, local food and beverages, and live music.
The summit takes place in downtown Keene, with the kick-off, keynote and closing speeches at The Colonial Theatre, a historical venue which seats 900. More than 600 people from 26 states attended Radically Rural in 2019, a significant increase from the first year.
Salt Lake Tribune – Salt Lake City, UT
After Paul Huntsman purchased the Salt Lake Tribune in 2016, he spent the next three years trying to understand the news industry in order to find a path toward sustainability.
What he found was that Salt Lake City residents were becoming more digitally advanced. He said a study revealed that 58 percent of readers were reading their online product with only a small portion reading print.
“The challenge we had now was print dollars turning into digital dimes,” Huntsman said. “And how do I make up that loss?”
After spending time with industry vets and looking at nonprofit models, he concluded that turning the daily newspaper into a nonprofit entity was the “right economic decision.”
“It was the only model that could work for our community,” Huntsman said. “I know the days of the printed paper are numbered…we can continue to downsize until we turn into a glorified blog, or see our pages become thinner and filled with news outside of our community, but that would not bode well.”
So, in May 2019, the Tribune applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, and the application was approved in late October, making the Tribune the first legacy newspaper in the U.S. to transform from a for-profit company to a nonprofit business.
“Some nonprofit publishers may want to put up a digital paywall, others may want to retain traditional advertising…still others—like us—want to do all of the above,” said Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce. “Our IRS approval allows that kind of flexibility, great news especially for struggling local news publishers.”
Buffalo News – Buffalo, N.Y.
Three years ago, the Buffalo News was frustrated by the lack of growth in digital subscriptions and the lack of paywall solutions that worked well. So, the publication took matters into its own hands and built a paywall solution called [BN] Tech. The development and testing took more than a year with an initial goal of growing digital subscriptions by 2,000 subscribers. The paper achieved that number within five months and have since added more than 9,000 digital subscribers since its launch. [BN] Tech now offers its paywall services to other publishers.