Identifying objectives, opportunities

By Bryan Cody, Ramsey Purvis, Brooke Bonura and Tomas Vivero

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Recommendations to boost branding and leverage other promotional opportunities for The Meridian Star are being developed by Ole Miss IMC students (from left) Bryan Cody, Ramsey Purvis, Brooke Bonura and Tomas Vivero.

Throughout this semester our integrated marketing communications campaigns class has focused on identifying objectives and opportunities for The Meridian Star. When our class met with publisher Alexander Gould early in the semester, we were able to ask him questions about day-to-day operations. This allowed us to understand what objectives needed to be met, and the opportunities for us to reach those objectives.

One of the first objectives we realized was that The Meridian Star needed to be more involved in the community in order to grow its support base to generate more revenue. Through community engagement, staff can boost awareness of the paper, other publications and added business-to-business services such as printing. Ways to meet this objective we are recommending include hosting community events such as a holiday lights contest, with competitors and winners featured on The Meridian Star’s front page/home page and also publishing more community-focused articles about local people, businesses and events.

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Insight key to development of effective marketing plan

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Ole Miss students (from left) Darby Frisbie, Kedrick Smith, Molly Chain and Hayley Day are simulating an integrated marketing communications agency, gaining real-world experience by developing a promotional plan for brand awareness and expanded services of The Meridian Star.

By Darby Frisbie, Kedrick Smith, Molly Chain & Hayley Day

As our capstone course for the integrated marketing degree program at Ole Miss, we are applying our skills of marketing and research to boost new objectives of The Meridian Star. We have analyzed the company needs and what the organization could do to grow its business.

The Meridian Star is positioned uniquely and we intend to identify ways the organization can preserve this uniqueness. By understanding audiences and sharing ideas in class, we are gaining more detailed understanding to help The Meridian Star realize these objectives for their daily business.

Continue reading “Insight key to development of effective marketing plan”

And the road goes on…

“Take another shot of courage.
Wonder why the right words never come.
You just get numb.”—Don Henley

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Ray Mosby

By Ray Mosby

ROLLING FORK— Twenty-five years.

A quarter of a century. A third of the average lifetime. That qualifies as a milestone, I think.

At very least, that’s a large enough sample to be representative. That’s enough time to accumulate an awful lot of data and that is enough time to adequately test it.

So I think it perhaps time for some evaluation.

It has been 25 years since I gathered up what then constituted my little family and moved to a place I’d never really been, where I knew not one soul to try to do something that I was not at all sure would even work.

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BrandingForward: Class to map future positioning of local newspapers

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Alexander Gould (foreground) and the campaigns class at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. (University of Mississippi photo)

By Alexander Gould

The majority of us operating community newspapers have built our operations to support the area businesses that are the life blood of our community. We celebrate their successes and are concerned for their setbacks. We are constantly having conversations with business owners and managers about the best and most efficient ways to market themselves.

Who within our own operations is taking the time to think about how best we market ourselves? Or more importantly, who has time to ask and answer that question?

Many of us are not just operating a newspaper, we are operating a media company. Of course we have our print newspaper, but we also have a robust website, a total market coverage (TMC) paper and in many cases a magazine. For many of us we are expanding our media companies to include a suite of digital marketing services.

Continue reading “BrandingForward: Class to map future positioning of local newspapers”

Small doesn’t mean ‘not tough’ on FOI matters

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

Small, rural newspapers can win open-records battles with state agencies and beat larger news outlets at covering big stories in their communities, says a journalist who spent most of his career at a metropolitan daily but has returned to the business of publishing a rural weekly.

Les Zaitz, publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in eastern Oregon, made those and other points as he spoke to the annual conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors in Portland, Oregon, on July 12.

Between his ISWNE presentations, Zaitz accepted the 2018 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism from the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

Zaitz talked about how the Enterprise pursued the story of a former state hospital patient’s involvement in two murders and an assault in Malheur County shortly after his release. The newspaper discovered that the defendant had been released after convincing state officials he had faked mental illness for 20 years to avoid prison, and after mental-health experts warned he was a danger.

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Time to stand up for a free press: We’re not the enemy

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

Enough already.

The last couple of years have been an unending barrage against the freedom of the press and the practitioners of this noble trade.

From being called “liars,” “fake,” and “sick” by irate politicians to enduring capricious and punitive tariffs that are an existential threat to newspapers, the landscape for journalists today may be as inhospitable as it has ever been in the 242-year history of this great union of ours.

All this while the public at large seems unable to break free of the social media echo chamber. We retreat there to endlessly bicker with those who don’t agree, or to bolster the confidence of our own positions by seeking solace from those who do.

We’ve devolved into a nation of people who simply don’t want to hear it.

And that’s incredibly dangerous. Continue reading “Time to stand up for a free press: We’re not the enemy”

This and that on tariffs, summits, and transitions

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

July 17 was a very long day for us in this business and not just because it was a Tuesday, which are replete with production deadlines for most newspapers.

No, this particular Tuesday was the day the marshaled forces representing newspapers across North America appeared before the International Trade Commission to make the case for it to abandon imposed anti-dumping duties and tariffs on Canadian-imported newsprint.

For all of our members, it is the existential crisis of the moment. And it’s a very dangerous one. The tariffs — still considered preliminary until the ITC rules late this summer — are causing newsprint prices to soar and availability to be sharply curbed.

The hearings before the ITC included a parade of dozens of members of Congress from both parties. These people know how important community newspapers are to the towns and counties they represent. And despite all the howls of “fake news” this and “fake news” that, these people know the threat such tariffs could have on principles as basic as those prescribed in the First Amendment.

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