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Time to re-energize Lake Placid’s hometown paper

March 13, 2014
Editorial , Lake Placid News

One of Lake Placid News Editor Andy Flynn's friends wrote to him on Facebook and said his new weight-loss column - the Lake Placid Diet -?inspired her to "FINALLY" go to her primary care doctor's office. It was a good move because she needs to work on a few things to get healthier.

"Thanks for the inspiration," she said.

This is one example of how the new Lake Placid News is affecting our readers' lives. When Andy returned in November after being gone as editor for more than a dozen years, he promised to re-energize the newspaper, and testimonials such as this prove that he is on the right track. Yet there is so much more to do.

As the weeks progress, readers will see more feature stories in the Lake Placid News. Last week, we began the 4 Seasons series, exploring how the seasons affect workers' lives in the Olympic region. This week, we're launching the Editorial Board feature on the Perspective page, talking with newsmakers and asking them about the latest issues facing our community. We'll spend more time on arts, education, health, business/finance, human-interest stories and unique features that explain what life is like in our section of the Adirondack Park.

More than ever, we're finding a need to reconnect with our readers. This has everything to do with the changes in technology over the past 20 years. Websites and online communities such as Facebook are encouraging our society to reduce the actual face time we have with our friends and neighbors. That's why it's important to have a local newspaper stay connected to its community, both in print and through face time with its readers. In short, you'll be seeing more of us in the future.

With most eyeballs on computers in this digital age, print newspaper subscriptions have dwindled across the world, and many so-called experts are saying that print will be dead within 10 years. We don't subscribe to those doomsday reports, and we're moving ahead with plans to improve Lake Placid's hometown newspaper, which was established in 1905.

In fact, small-town weeklies are now having more success than big-city dailies across America; therefore, we're confident the Lake Placid News has a strong future.

Having a sister newspaper, the Saranac Lake-based Adirondack Daily Enterprise, generating hard-hitting news reports from our area on a daily basis is great for our company, Adirondack Publishing. Yet we'll admit that finding an editorial balance between the daily and weekly newspapers has been an ongoing challenge.

We're working hard to avoid a carbon-copy approach to local journalism as we share resources to save money so we can continue to bring you the best local news available. Other newspapers fall into the carbon-copy trap because it's cheap and easy, and you can clearly see the difference. We find that taking the easy way out is a disservice to our readers and advertisers. Besides, it's unfulfilling professionally. While the Lake Placid News shares editorial staff with the Enterprise, we still work hard to give our weekly readers original content that they'll find useful, informative and entertaining.

We believe our new format will offer that unique blend of stories from around our readership area: the village of Lake Placid and towns of North Elba, Keene, Wilmington and Jay. And we're moving ahead with plans to cover Wilmington, Jay and Keene on a more regular basis.

Therefore, the question - "Why should I get the Lake Placid News if you're going to print the same stories as the Adirondack Daily Enterprise?" - is not a valid argument for people who don't subscribe to our daily and weekly newspapers. If you haven't signed up for both, you're missing out on a lot of important and interesting stories.

To sum it up, the Lake Placid News is undergoing a transformation. We've always had a strong mix of hard news and features; however, since the hard news is reported first in the Enterprise, the Lake Placid News will concentrate on exclusive feature stories. Our goal is to humanize relevant local stories so you get a better understanding as to what the news means to you and to our community.

By evolving the editorial philosophy of the Lake Placid News, Adirondack Publishing is giving readers two strong news products: a daily that prints the latest news and a weekly that explores the community.

Our editorial staff loves working at the weekly newspaper, mainly because there is room to write. We believe in storytelling. We believe in longer features. We believe there is a future for more in-depth pieces in the Lake Placid News because our readers want and deserve more than just skimming the facts of a story, like you see on television newscasts. Readers want depth. They want meaning.

While many "experts" in the newspaper business preach that shorter, USA Today-style stories in the digital age are better because Americans' attention spans are shorter, there are studies that prove the younger generation is indeed spending time reading longer stories online.

The Lake Placid Diet, for example, shows that people still want to read some of the longer feature stories, even online when they are supposedly multitasking. Our Google Analytics report shows that people are spending more time - between 4.5 and 5.5 minutes - reading the Lake Placid Diet on the Lake Placid News website than most other columns or hard news stories (2-3 minutes).

We have a lot of state and national awards on the walls of the Lake Placid News, telling part of the story of this award-winning newspaper. But we've learned that people don't care what you've done in the past. They want to know what we've done for them lately.

We look forward to reconnecting with communities in the Olympic Region and giving you the best hometown newspaper we possibly can, refined for our area and the digital world.



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