Saturday, December 30, 2006

Getting Better Dreams

Here's a map of Maine, with a big red X over the town of Farmington.

Starting Tuesday, January 16, the Franklin Journal, which has been published in Farmington for a little over 200 years, will have a new editor, and I will have a new job. You'll note that I didn't furnish a link for the Franklin Journal, because it isn't on line. It also isn't owned by a rapacious Wall Street firm that wants only to drag as much money out of the community as possible and is willing to publish a newspaper if necessary. Rather, it's owned by this guy Bill who lives in North Carolina and is happy to have a couple of papers in Maine that make him some money.

The paper comes out on Tuesday and Friday. It's very small -- the Tuesday paper is eight pages and the Friday is 16. It doesn't have room for stories about the war, but even papers that have room for stories about the war would rather run stories about Brittany Spears, so it really doesn't matter much. I'd rather not have the space, and run neither, than have the space and be forced to make the wrong choice.

As it is, the paper runs the news of the local community, news they can't get anywhere else and that they care about. This is back to the days of the entrepenurial small town paper that matters to the people it writes about. This is going to be a blast.

If you check the link above, you'll find that Farmington is a combination of true rural living with some nice collegiate influence -- there are some book stores and funky clothing stores and plenty of other fun places without it being a "college town" to the extent that the locals are overwhelmed. There's a good hospital, lots of places to walk dogs and enough stores that you really don't have to drive the 40 miles down to Auburn unless you want to.

Of course, my email won't change, so in this on-line world of ours, it won't really matter too much that I've changed my physical base of operations. Except that I may change my tone as my daily three-dimensional life goes through changes. And I expect those changes to be for the better.

As for the headline above, I was cleaning out boxes when I came across some quotes I had collected, including one from Bill Walton, who said, "If your dreams aren't coming true, maybe it's time to get yourself some new dreams."

I've just got my same old dreams, but I'm remembering the importance of keeping them from shriveling or worse.


D.D.Degg said...

Way to go, Mike.
Local news is why newspapers will never die; despite what the doomsayers say about why the internet will kill dead tree news.
Oh, and local advertising.

BrianFies said...

That is fantastic news, Mike. I hope you and your owner's expectations remain compatible. Now that you have your own sandbox to play in and a chance to DO IT RIGHT, I'll be interested to see how reality matches your dreams.

And you get to pick the comics! (Assuming you can afford any.)

Best of luck, it sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Mike said...

Thanks, guys.

Yes, local news is key. A number of years ago, I predicted that major metro papers would begin to look like USA Today and the rest would begin to look like local shoppers. This, of course, assumed that they would all wish to stay in business on a long term basis. But I find myself impatient even with mid-sized papers that aren't telling me anything I can't find somewhere else.

Local is the key, and whether papers remain on paper or not is a lot less important than whether they remain relevant or not. This paper is part of the community.

Anonymous said...

Whoo-hoo! That's me waving right over the border here in Nouveau-Brunswick!

Congratulations, my friend!


Rob Wynne said...

Way to go Mike! I'm sorry that this will mean the end of Drawing Conclusions and Nellie, though. :/

Mark Jackson said...

Congratulations, Mike. This sounds Right Up Your Alley.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mike! Sounds like a wonderful move for you! Can't wait to hear about it!