GLOVERSVILLE — Fulton County Center for Regional Growth representatives and local elected officials took a tour through The Leader-Herald on Friday getting the opportunity to speak with Leader-Herald staff, asking questions and get a first-hand look at how the paper is put together.
At the tour was CRG members Becky Hatcher, Stephen R. Smith, Gloversville fifth-ward Supervisor Gregory Young, Johnstown Mayor Vernon Jackson, Johnstown Deputy Mayor and Councilman-at-large Craig Talarico, CRG Director Grant Preston, CRG board member Kent Kirch and Gloversville third-ward Supervisor John H. Blackmon. Leading the tour was the Leader-Herald Publisher Trevor Evans.
Evans began the tour answering some questions officials had regarding the paper. He said the first paper published by the Leader-Herald was in 1887 and the newspaper was originally produced out of what is now a laundromat next to Gloversville Palace Diner.
“As far as accuracy, nothing is more accurate than a newspaper,” Evans said.
CRG board member Kirch asked where print will be in 10 to 15 years.
“Print should be prevalent the next 10 to 15 years in my opinion,” Evans answered. “I think the next 10 to 15 years will be very viable.”
“If there is one thing you would want us to know about your business here, what would that be?” asked Kirch.
Evans said that the Leader-Herald is a much bigger asset to the community than it is given credit for, noting in the discussion the number of people employed by the newspaper, the importance of having a local newspaper and how The Leader-Herald has given financially, physically and emotionally to the community, such as with the annual Scripps Spelling Bee.
Some of the questions asked include:
“What is your trend?” Blackmon asked. “I know kids coming out of college and high school probably never physically read newspapers. The sad thing is the numbers are huge, 70 percent are getting all their news from things like Facebook.”
Evans explained that because of a miscommunication this year, Scripps went elsewhere before offering The Leader-Herald the opportunity to sponsor it for the 26th consecutive year.
“The agreement to participate in the Bee was emailed to an incorrect email address,” Evans explained. “And Scripps did not follow up with a phone call to see if we were going to host it again.”
By the time Evans found out about the spelling bee being offered to another sponsor, he said it was too late to secure the event.
“I asked if I could buy out the contract,” said Evans. “But [Scripps] said they were unable to do that. We will do everything we can to have the Spelling Bee back next year.”
Kirch then asked about the newspaper’s greatest challenge.
Evans said the biggest challenge facing the newspaper is the expectations put on the editorial staff when there isn’t as much manpower to be everywhere at once and cover the same amount of events as years prior.
“We need the community — the organizations, the businesses, the local leaders and the residents — to send their information and photos in and we’ll be happy to get it in the paper.”
Officials were then led into the editorial room. There officials met reporters, editors and the managing editor Patricia Older, who showed them how the newspaper goes from written stories and digital photos, to a finished digital file of an entire page being sent to production where it is plated and sent to be printed.
“Our niche locally is we can print almost all local community news that our readers cannot get anywhere else,” said Older. “Most people watch the news at night and get national news, but they won’t get all of our local news.”
Following the editorial room, Evans led officials to the production room where they were able to see the plates that are made from the digital files to be turned into the newspaper. Tim VanAernam, the production manager, also showed all the publications the company prints, including Uncle Henry’s, The Times Journal Newspaper and the Altamont Enterprise.
From the production room, officials were led to circulation and advertising then ending the tour in the press room where the copies of the paper are made and then delivered.
The CRG tours one local business each month. The tours will be covered by The Leader-Herald.