Another legacy media product is being offered to readers and advertisers in the county, starting this week. The weekly newspaper, the Cecil Guardian, joins a crowded field of traditional publications, which includes a cluster of new ones offering niches such as infomercials in print for local government, politicians and businesses, as well as classified advertising and light features. In an already crowded Cecil County marketplace, one that is undergoing radical change because of the economy, new distribution models, the commodization of content and changing reader habits, the challenge is to differentiate a product from the packed field, which includes a daily newspaper with a under-resourced website.
There is definitely a business opportunity here if someone will seize it for a need isn’t being filled, that being in the area of deeper, insightful articles. That’s what once made newspapers so valuable. But to do that, one has to do more than provide infomercials, light features and classifieds, but if it’s approached in an old-fashioned journalistic style there just might be able to create a publication that has real value for advertisers. That requires a good dose of professional curosity on the part of the publication. When covering a story dig into the subject a little, ask reasonable follow-up questions, be a little skeptical of the facts periodically, and get other opposing viewpoints. There’s typically more than one side to a story, especially when covering politicians and government. There’s an opportunity here and hopefully it is going to be filled.
The publisher that fills this niche will build a successful product as external variables force changes in the media industry. It requires making full use of multi-platform delivery, creating the primary web portal for all things Cecil County and the place to go on the web for local content, in addition to publishing content that readers are going to pour over so they’ll see those expensive advertisements.