As we close out 2015 and take the time to look back, we finally get to take a small breath over here at the paper.
It’s been a whirlwind year for Newton Now, since we announced our intent around March.
While plans for this publication were in the works long before that date, our first chance to meet the public happened at the annual car show.
We didn’t have much at the time. No official staff, no office space, no base of subscribers and no name recognition outside of our magazine, Harvey County Now.
But with a makeshift tailgating tent, a freshly printed banner, and a roll of bailing wire, we made it work.
The day was far from an encouraging start. Many in the crowd were from out of town. A few stopped to look at our name and say, ?Huh?? And somewhere during the show, a passerby passed out, falling onto our chairs and prompting us to go running for the paramedics.
I remember yelling that all the paramedics were busy selling chicken sandwiches. Something that only made sense to me months later writing about fundraising efforts by friends of Newton EMS.
After a long day, we retreated to Bruce Behymer’s porch to do some planning. The reality that we were building a newspaper from the ground up began to sink in.
In the following months, we took our first tentative steps to make this paper a reality. We found a wonderful office location at 706 N. Main. We procured furniture from Heritage Home Furnishings. We hired a talented sports editor in Clint Harden after he left channel 12. And we brought on Wendy Nugent, a well-known and gifted writer, who has spent a great deal of her life reporting on the community of Newton.
We had a staff but still no product. Out of works of sheer will and faith, we began signing up subscriber after subscriber to make a commitment to buy a newspaper they had never seen before. Most of our early subscribers signed up for ideological reasons. They wanted to see a new community publication in Newton.
It was those early supporters and early advertisers who helped keep the doubts at bay. We saw that support existed. We just had to go out and keep finding it.
We made our moves. We planned, and on August 13 at 2:30 a.m., we finished and mailed our inaugural edition. That edition represented a long time dream for many of us. But after it was out, we came to the realization that we had to put out a second one and a third one. The process started all over, and again we realized this new newspaper thing isn’t a cake walk.
This newspaper represents our 21st edition and a year in review for Newton.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen bumps. We’ve reworked processes. We’ve put changes in place to further tweak and improve our product. None of us have done this before. Newton Now has been a learn-as-you-go experience for all of us.
Still, as time passes, each step we take becomes less tentative. We build sources, we build relationships, we gain knowledge, and most important of all, we gain a reading and advertising base.
In the next few months, we hope to see our circulation numbers top 1,000. We hope to have 1,000 subscribers before we celebrate our one-year anniversary.
Such goals, tempered by a growing bit of experience, are realistic. Such goals also represent sustainability points for the paper.
What that translates to is that not only are we well above water, but we plan to be around for a long, long time and those expectations are realistic.
We made a co-bid for county legal publications in December. We plan on bidding for all area governments? legals in the coming year.
For Newton Now, after putting out our newspaper, this has gone as well as we could have possibly hoped for.
The support we’ve seen from the community has been tremendous and well appreciated. Such support makes it easy to come into work every day and put out a paper.
For 2016, we plan on building upon the small foundation we’ve set in place at the newspaper. We’ll do so as we’ve done in the past: one story at a time and one happy reader at a time.
So, folks, if you like the product and enjoy seeing us in your mailbox every week, continue spreading the word.
We want to build a vehicle for community information and community progress here. We’ve been doing so with your help, and we hope that help continues.
So thank you all so much readers, advertisers and subscribers. Thank you to all our sources as well, and for the so many kind words that have helped push us forward.
We expect to do big things in 2016?thanks to you.