I recently gave a talk for a local nonprofit on the theme: “10 Things You May Not Know about The News Tribune.” It generated a pretty good conversation, so I’m sharing those 10 Things here.
1. Newspaper readership is up. Our most recent research shows that 297,006 people read the Sunday TNT in print, up from 291,499 a year ago. More than 100,000 people buy a Sunday paper, and most of them pass it along to other readers. Numbers like that show the continuing popularity (and profitability) of the printed newspaper.
2. We are the largest news-gathering organization in Pierce County and the second-largest in Western Washington. Only The Seattle Times staff is larger. While each TV station has about a dozen reporters covering all of Western Washington, we have 30 reporters focused on Pierce County alone. Our reporters become experts on local matters, and when a big story hits close to home, we cover it more thoroughly.
3. Local content is our franchise, but we spend more than $100,000 a year traveling for stories. We’ve made eight trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to cover local soldiers at war – an unmatched commitment for a paper our size. We also “embed” sports reporters to cover the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and University of Washington Huskies at home and on the road. We send our Adventure Guys hiking, fishing and skiing so they can share their adventures and their expertise with you. And we cover local people serving in disaster zones such as New Orleans and Haiti.
4. We have a close news partnership with The Olympian. We joined forces with our sister paper a few years ago to gain more close-to-home stories for our readers. We team up to cover the statehouse, the environment and high school sports. Our joint copy and design desk produces pages for both papers. And we print both papers on the TNT press. Local news reporting, front-page story selection and editorials remain separate. Tacoma and Olympia are different communities and need independent news and editorial voices.
5. We have formed newspaper-delivery partnerships. In Pierce County, TNT carriers deliver our paper, The Olympian, Peninsula Gateway, Puyallup Herald, Seattle Times, Kitsap Sun, New York Times, USA Today, Investors Business Daily and Korea Times.
Seattle Times carriers deliver the TNT in King County, Olympian carriers in Thurston County and Kitsap Sun carriers in Kitsap County. Each partners saves money this way, and collectively we reduce waste and emissions.
6. One ad in the Sunday News Tribune reaches three times as many Pierce County adults as one prime-time spot on all four local TV stations combined. We reach 39 percent. They reach 12 percent. While television in total reaches more people, the audience is fractured into hundreds of channels.
7. The TNT has always been a leader as a local multimedia company. In addition to publishing a newspaper for 129 years, we launched the area’s first FM radio station (KTNT) in 1947, the second TV station in the Pacific Northwest (KTNT-TV, Channel 11) in 1953, and one of the first news websites west of the Mississippi in the early 1990s.
8. We like that people get their news online. In Pierce County, they get it from us. We also like social media. Rather than competition, we see Facebook and Twitter as new avenues for disseminating our news to a wider audience. The main TNT sites have 6,700 Facebook fans and 8,600 Twitter followers.
9. Our smartphone and tablet audience has grown 200 percent since last year. Mobile now accounts for one-quarter of our digital traffic, which totals 7.5 million page views a month. Overall digital page views are up 15 percent from last year.
10. The News Tribune gives more than $1.5 million a year back to the community. We show our support through event sponsorships and donated advertising space for local charities.
Editors these days must do a lot of media myth-busting. If you have a question about our rapidly changing industry, please send it to my email below.
FAREWELL TO KATHLEEN
Longtime TNT columnist Kathleen Merryman is retiring on Friday. We’ll host a community farewell open house for her Wednesday in the TNT lobby. Please join us between 3:30 and 5 firstname.lastname@example.org