Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Publisher calls Herald open house a success [With Video]

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 11/15/2013

The Ottawa Herald threw open its doors Friday, welcoming readers, customers and even a potential buyer for the newspaper’s for-sale building, Jeanny Sharp said.

Two main reasons for the open house, Sharp, Herald editor and publisher, said, were to showcase the building, 104 S. Cedar St., for potential buyers and to better communicate to the community what The Herald accomplishes both in its print product and its other, less-traditional offerings.

The Ottawa Herald threw open its doors Friday, welcoming readers, customers and even a potential buyer for the newspaper’s for-sale building, Jeanny Sharp said.

Two main reasons for the open house, Sharp, Herald editor and publisher, said, were to showcase the building, 104 S. Cedar St., for potential buyers and to better communicate to the community what The Herald accomplishes both in its print product and its other, less-traditional offerings.

The day began with an Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce coffee before opening the newspaper’s doors to the public for tours of the business.

“The catalyst for the open house initially was the fact that we have the building for sale,” Sharp said. “But more importantly than that, frankly it’s because we have a lot of changes in our industry, and our whole industry changed because of the outsourcing of printing and production functions since we’re no longer a production facility.”

The Herald building also recently celebrated its 50th year at the Cedar Street location, Sharp said. Since the building has been for sale for more than a year, Sharp said, she thought it was a good time to show the community what The Herald has been up to, and to appeal to potential buyers.

“We’ve been gradually renovating portions of the building as we can afford to do so,” she said. “We had one potential buyer today. We thought it was also an appropriate time for people to see what we’ve been doing. We get lots of questions about how our business operates and we take it for granted that people understand our business, and they don’t.”

To show the evolution of a breaking news story, a video was crafted to help answer some of the community’s questions, Sharp said, as well as demonstrate how more people are getting news through different mediums. To view the video, go to www.ottawaherald.com

“The questions I hear most often are questions regarding news, how we get ideas for our news stories and how do we put everything together,” she said. “Some people love traditional print, some love getting news on their phones, some like getting it on their tablet, others like getting it via email blasts with breaking news. Others like social media and they like reading about it on Twitter and Facebook. I think we have kept up with the times and we’re delivering news the way people want to get it — whatever that way might be.”

A common misconception, Sharp said, is that The Herald only offers a print-version newspaper, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I think the thing I wanted to show off the most would be to talk about the growth in readership,” she said. “I think so many people have talked about the death and extinction of newspapers because they think of us only as print and look at one aspect of what we do and think that’s all we do and don’t understand the other things we do.”

As the news industry continues to evolve and readers find new and different ways of consuming news, Sharp said, The Herald will continue to adapt.

“We just want to keep getting better every day,” she said. “We want to continue the award-winning performance our news and advertising team has done in delivering quality content, whether that’s news, photos, videos, advertising, etc. We want to be able to deliver it all, in the manner people want.”

Attendees at the open house also were given the opportunity to win prizes. The winner of $100 in Studio 104 services was Harry Peckham. The winner of a Special Event Advertising Package was Lou Baker.

Sara Crist, Carolyn Church, Lex Gislar, Kristin Hough, Tommy Sink, Glenda Guge, Jim Hepner, Michelle Smith, Ruth Jansen and Juanita Peckham all won an Ottawa Herald snowglobe, cooler and jam.

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