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$756 pledged of $1,000 goal
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By James Jennings
$756 pledged of $1,000 goal
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About this project

I have been in the newspaper business for 12 years and have learned what it takes to make a small town community newspaper successful. This summer, I am taking over The Record, a small town weekly newspaper located in Montezuma, Iowa (about smack dab in the middle of the state).

What I am planning is a complete redesign, modernization and refocus of the paper. Color will be added to the front page each week and the layout will become much more dynamic and reader friendly. There will be a heavy focus on photos, especially of local school activities, including sports, projects and various performances. I want to give as many students their "moment in the sun" as I possibly can.

The paper will focus on hyper-local coverage. In a small town, the only source of local news is the local newspaper. The large media outlets only care about the small towns when something they deem "newsworthy" occurs. When you live in a small town, the local Little League or church supper is newsworthy, as well as city council and school board meetings. 

The paper's new motto will be "OUR community, OUR news, OUR Record." With this major local focus, the newspaper can become a pillar of the community and a source of pride. 

My goal is to prove all the so-called newspaper industry experts wrong and show that print journalism is not dying, just changing. The redesign is the first step in creating a template for other small town newspapers to follow to success, and I plan to share it with anyone who will listen.

The redesign project will begin in earnest on July 1. Bits and pieces will be tested and implemented in the following weeks and months. The goal is to have a completely redesigned paper by Dec. 1. Most subscriptions come up at the end of December, so this will coincide with a big renewal and new subscription push.

This redesign project needs graphics experts to create a new look. Software needs to be updated and up to date photography equipment needs to be purchased. Fortunately, I have connections who will help with some of this at extremely discounted rates. And, I'm realistic enough to know that I need to shop for bargains for software and equipment. A good used camera will work just as well as a shiny new one!

Thank you for considering to be a part of this project that will hopefully kick off a new wave of success for a great many small town newspapers.

Risks and challenges

Everyone says the newspaper business is in decline, so attempting to build up a small publication and make it more successful and build readership is "against the grain," so to speak.

I've been in the business for 12 years, and I've seen what works and what doesn't. I've worked in other small towns and heard people from the community say what they want/expect from their local paper. Now, I'm in a position to actually do something about it and become an example for other small newspapers everywhere.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    One year complimentary subscription to The Record and a mention in a "thank you" ad once the redesign is complete

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A two-year subscription to The Record, a mention in the "thank you" ad, plus a Montezuma Record coffee mug

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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)