Can new media save a local Michigan newspaper? Maybe last week

OriginalIn April, the Birmingham Eccentric, a local weekly Michigan paper, announced they were shutting down their print edition, another victim of new media, dwindling subscriptions and anemic advertising. But four months later, the 131-year old paper is still printing. And ironically, new media is what’s saving it.

When the paper revealed they were ceasing production, a group of Birmingham residents — “activists” — decided they would save the paper. They started by rallying support at a town hall meeting, a community solution for a local issue.

But then apparently they realized it was 2009.

And so they turned to the Internet, launching a Web site called Save the Birmingham Eccentric to increase subscriptions. They did a local segment on Fox News. And on Thursday, the Detroit-area radio station WXYZ published an editorial on their Web site about the efforts to save the local paper.

The newspaper’s exclamation-point infused rescue Web site offers a full year subscription for only $52, along with a bolded banner declaring “Subscribe to the Birmingham Eccentric and win!”

And though a few minutes of searching did not uncover a link to follow the newspaper on Twitter, the site is still promising a raffle drawing that apparently occurred last week.

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3 responses to “Can new media save a local Michigan newspaper? Maybe last week

  1. Pingback: A Multi-Platform Plea for Print Survival - Media Decoder Blog - NYTimes.com

  2. Thank you for covering this story. I am leading the effort to save our 131 year old paper (owned by Gannett) along with celebrity photojournalist Linda Solomon. Together with local government officials, business leaders, and residents, we are engaging in a significant effort to keep our paper from closing. This effort includes a major subscription drive, efforts to increase local advertising, and work to improve both the content and quality of the newspaper. In addition to attracting the attention of of the NY Times (apparently as a result of your blog) and the Columbia Journalism Review, ABC World News Tonight plans to run a feature on our story.

    I and others engaged in the effort would pleased to send you additional information and speak with you if there is an interest in providing more in-depth coverage of our amazing story.

    Thanks,

    David Bloom
    Chair, Citizens to Save the Eccentric
    Birmingham, MI
    (248) 765-5664

  3. The blogosphere makes a newspaper into a news story. Great!

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