It’s safe to say that Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald Publisher John Tabor is a big Newspaper Next fan. When its trainers came to the paper, he says, “We closed the whole shop for a day, and trained as many employees as we could.” Of the 128 full-time employees, more than 100 showed up for the N2 sessions.
The Daily Beachcomber, a free tabloid that launched last year for the Hampton Seacoast beach season, isn’t the only product to emerge from N2’s brainstorming training ? but it was a notable success right out of the blocks. The Tuesday-through-Saturday paper turned a 28% profit margin (exclusive of about $7,000 in launch marketing expenses) in its first year. Now Herald parent Seacoast Media is targeting $128,000 in revenues for its summer papers, and by the end of May had signed contracts worth $78,000.
The Beachcomber also gets them back into a region it had neglected as it clustered its dailies. “It’s paid great competitive dividends for us,” says Tabor, putting it in a better position against the established weekly Beach News because “dailies trump weeklies.” The paper has also given the Herald circulation department an opportunity to learn the very different logistics of distributing younger-skewing free tabs ? and the marketing department experience with buzz promotion, including roller-skating hawkers.
Hampton’s beaches are a big market between the end of the school year and Labor Day. As many as 120,000 show up on a good beach day, and the Beachcomber acts as “a GPS (global positioning system) to get you where you want to go on the beach,” Tabor adds. It’s edited by Patrick Cronin, a writer, Tabor says, “who loves beach life, and beach culture from the sand castle-making contests to the club scene.”
Every image in the Beachcomber is in color, and odds are very high that the photo is of a local beachgoer ? and pretty good that he or she is showing off a tattoo. “It’s got a chirpy little attitude,” Tabor adds.