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By The Staff

Sometimes we commit crimes that cause the most hurt to those we love.

I love newspapers.

And perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch to call what I joined my family in doing a “crime,” but in many respects it was.

We published one of the first “shoppers” in Kentucky, competing against a very good newspaper.

Our goal was to get as many business places as possible to pay us for placing advertisements in a monthly publication placed at various locations throughout the community.

Calling it the  “Shopper’s News” was a big fib, as it contained practically no news. We would have been thrilled if every available space contained paid advertising, but we did have some “holes” where we placed “filler” copy such as puzzles and tidbits of little or no interest nor help to our readers or for the betterment of our community.

It never occurred to us at the time that we were stealing, but basically that’s what it amounted to.

We were taking away dollars the newspaper could have used to help provide even better coverage to the community.

A good newspaper touches lives every day through publication of everything from weddings and engagements, births and deaths, and triumphs and tragedies.

Most importantly, a good newspaper serves as a watchdog over government, making sure office holders are held accountable for their actions.

A newspaper is a business, and just like any enterprise, it must be profitable to stay in business.

There are some key differences between newspapers and most other businesses.

Newspaper revenue is partially generated through sales of the paper itself. This is done through subscription and single copy sales.

The major revenue source for newspapers however, is advertising. This takes lots of forms…..classified ads placed by individuals, and inserts from major chains, but mainly from local businesses.

Getting a newspaper out every week is an expensive undertaking, and today, more than ever, covering expenses while trying to eek out some sort of profit is a tremendous challenge.

Some newspapers have been forced to close up shop, and that’s a shame as the community will surely suffer from their demise.

On my travels throughout Kentucky, I see newspapers with well-documented records of providing the citizens of their community vital information.

I encourage advertisers and citizens to continue to show their support for these newspapers as they strive to make the papers even more meaningful to the community.

To do otherwise would be a crime.

Editor’s Note: Don White is a former editor/publisher with Landmark Community Newspapers. He now travels across the state writing “The Kentucky Traveler” features.