Strong Newspapers, Strong Communities
Posted: 4/7/2014  |  By: Nu Yang
Forget the doom and gloom being reported in the industry. The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association has made a video documentary highlighting the strength of its newspapers titled “Strong Newspapers, Strong Communities.” PNA staff traveled and visited members last summer in order to learn how Pennsylvania newspapers are serving their readers and communities. The video debuted last November and showcases dozens of interviews with publishers, editors, reporters and advertising directors.    

“We wanted to share with the news industry our strengths, our energy and our optimism found across the state,” said PNA president Teri Henning.            

Henning said the group put out a call to any interested newspapers and received more than enough responses. The 17-minute long video touts various print and digital projects Pennsylvania papers are doing, including a community media lab at the Pottstown Mercury and the incubator program at the Philadelphia Inquirer. It also featured niche and alternative publications like the Philadelphia Gay News and Philadelphia Weekly.            

“Print is not dead,” Philadelphia Weekly editor Stephen Segal said in the video. “It’s all on how you approach it, and the answer that we came up for it over this past year was don’t go smaller, go bigger.”            

With more than 1,000 views on YouTube, Henning said she encouraged papers to show the video to their newsrooms. She also wanted to see other news organizations launch similar projects that focused on positivity. “We always hear about the difficulties in the industry, but we should also share the good news in the industry and the strengths in our markets,” Henning said.

(Pottstown) Mercury editor and Pennsylvania regional editor for Digital First Media Nancy March said she participated in the documentary in order to share with legacy media groups the digital efforts taking place at her paper. Although she believed the video succeeded in reporting what newspapers were doing, she wished the video showed more diversity and more emphasis on the digital transformations taking place in the industry.            

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
executive editor David Shribman said he spoke in the video because it was time for newspapers to show some self-confidence. In the documentary, he said as long as human emotions exist, “news is (never) going out of fashion.”

To watch the video, visit the PNA YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/PaNewspaperAssoc or visit panewsmedia.org for more information.