Editorial: Just the facts ma'am

We don’t publish advertorials. You know: the stuff that looks like a news story, but when you begin to read it you recognize it as being purely promotional. It’s been suggested by other small publishers that we do this as a way to increase revenue and get editorial content for free. We won’t. True, we are trying to make a living from The Coastal Star, but we are also attempting to deliver a publication that is trusted by our readers. That’s important to us. We realize we are hiking into deep woods by starting a community newspaper during economically trying times; and we are trying to keep an open mind when it comes to ideas for generating revenue. But even though we could make money by publishing content written by advertisers, we choose not to. Blurring the line between reporting and advertising could jeopardize the affinity we have built with readers over the past year, and maintaining readers’ confidence is paramount to us. There is a way to reach readers with a business message, however, by self-publishing on our Web site, www.thecoastalstar.ning.com. Just click on Forums and select either Business Announcements or Classifieds. Both are free. Several local businesses are already using this service to reach our online community. Similarly, many of our readers have asked us to publish their columns, stories or opinions. Among them are proven or aspiring writers, whose work we are interested in sharing — particularly those informative and timely topics that resonate with other readers. In the economics of newspapers, however, story space is created by the sale of advertising. As editor, I am always balancing space needed for news and features with revenues created by ad sales. And there is always more “copy” than there is space in the print edition. But once again, our Web site provides an alternative for material that does not make it into print. Reader/writers can post their work at www.thecoastalstar.ning.com. Again, select Forums then choose Island Talk to share your writing with our online community. And don’t forget photos! We love photos: sunrises, surfers, pets or events. Just log in to our Web site and click Photos. Many of our online members do this on a regular basis. It’s always great to see what’s happening in our community. And community, after all, is what The Coastal Star is all about. Mary Kate Leming, editor
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