updated 9:52 PM EDT, Mar 26, 2015
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front page of Salado Village Voice

Paper returns  to roots, looks  toward its future  with new format

Salado Village Voice returns to its roots this week as the 34-year-old newspaper unveils a new broadsheet standard.

“The newspaper started out in 1979 as a broadsheet in the style of the old newspapers of the 19th century,” Editor-in-Chief Tim Fleischer said. “Dayton Kelley modeled his Salado Village Voice around the old broadsheets like the New York Times with straight columns and lots of type.”

The Fleischer family bought the newspaper in 1988 and quickly made an adjustment to it by bringing it down to a smaller, handier tabloid size with pages of 17” in height. 

“To be honest, we went tabloid so we could print an eight- or 12-page paper, rather than a four- or six-page paper,” Fleischer said of those lean first years.

“We’ve grown with Salado over the years and are now expanding our coverage to include a section dedicated to schools and sports news,” he said.

The new standard size newspaper is being unveiled at the same time that the Salado Village Voice has reimagined its website.

“The website will now have a more modular and uniform layout and theme to it, regardless of what section you may find yourself browsing,” Fleischer explained. “We are using Joomla for content management and will be working in the next several months to make the website the community portal for Salado.”

Some content will be free, but internet subscribers will find a thorough, richer experience. “The print and web editions of the newspaper and Jewel will be cooperative and complementary to each other,” Fleischer said. “My goal in the next year is to make the Salado Village Voice website good enough to be the homepage on your browser.”

Sales staff -- in a nutshell, Marilyn! -- will be working with print advertising customers to develop a mixed media approach that best suits their needs, incorporating print, web and social into a cohesive, effective approach.

“While our big daily brothers have suffered dramatically in the digital transition,” Fleischer said, “small community newspapers have continued to thrive. This one has.”

Readers in areas served by community newspapers continue to prefer the community newspaper as their sources of local news and advertising. The 2011 results of the annual survey conducted by the National Newspaper Association and the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism shows that 74 percent of people in communities served by a newspaper with circulations under 15,000 read their local newspaper each week. The 2012 survey has not been completed.

Since 2005, NNA has done research on how people read and what they think about their local newspaper.  Results have been consistent over the years, even as sample and community sizes have been adjusted slightly.  

The local community newspaper is the primary source of information about the local community for 51.8 percent of respondents compared to seeking information from friends and relatives (16 percent) and TV (13.2 percent).  Readers are seven times more likely to get their news from their community newspapers than from the Internet (7.4 percent).  Fewer than 6 percent say their primary local news source is radio. About a quarter of respondents said they had found local news through a mobile device in the past 30 days. 

Other trends:

Three out of four (74 percent) of those surveyed read a local community newspaper each week.

  Community newspaper readers prefer to receive advertising through the newspaper (51 percent) instead of on the Internet (11 percent).  Note: 70 percent of respondents have Internet access in the home.  Of those with Internet access at home, 89 percent have broadband access.

  Readers, on average, share their papers with 2.33 persons.

“We plan to be around in 2013 and far beyond,” Fleischer said. “We want to be the local news source for Salado in print and online, regardless of how you access us.”

“We’ll be announcing many changes and advances in the coming months,” Fleischer said,  “leading up to our 25th anniversary of the Fleischer family owning the Salado Village Voice.”