The First Community Newspaper

Early editions of The News & Neighbor.

Early editions of The News & Neighbor.

From humble beginnings as a weekly shopper, The News & Neighbor quickly grew into a teller of stories that other media did not cover. We were able to do so because we listened – from day one – to what you, our readers, told us you wanted from a community newspaper.

Listening to you is not something new to us. It’s what we have always done.

You told us years ago that you wanted more good news, more coverage of what was happening here in the community, and more coverage of the local triumphs that make life here special.

So, the News & Neighbor became the leader in covering non-profit fundraiser programs with numerous photographs and stories of non-profit efforts. Our “good news” focus allowed The News & Neighbor to eschew the crime beat and “controversy for controversy’s sake” stories.

While other media chose to cover very little of the lives of our youth outside high school football and basketball games, The News & Neighbor was the first to cover high school scholarship signings, which many local media now cover. The News & Neighbor gave significant time to covering organizations such as 4-H, Future Farmers of America, JROTC and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which had been generally ignored by local media to that point.

The News & Neighbor was the leader in covering charitable presentations that had not been covered by local media before. Most of these events were shunned by other media as not being “hard news.” The Johnson City News & Neighbor has always understood what you told us so early on – that community journalism is about covering what matters to the members of the community, period.

And we’re grateful for the respect the business community has given us based on our service to the community as a whole. For instance, when Mountain States Health Alliance wanted to name their new hospital a few years ago, they chose our paper as the vehicle in which to run the naming contest. Lois Peterson won the contest with her entry, Franklin Woods.

The News & Neighbor is also a proud sponsor of the Tweetsie Trail fundraising program.

It’s no surprise that other media are attempting to position themselves as community journalists now. That’s good news too. It’s good for the community when more media understand what their readers, viewers and listeners actually want and need from them – so long as the media will truly make the commitment to deliver it.

 

The Best Community Newspaper

Over the last 15 years or so, a sea change has occurred in print journalism in America. Daily newspapers are dying. Their advertising revenues have declined as new competitors have pulled away what had been an almost captive audience. Most corporate newspaper companies reacted to the drop in revenues in the worst way possible. They cut newsroom staff and relied more heavily on wire copy to fill their pages. The reporters they kept on staff have become overworked, often having to cover so many stories they can no longer learn enough about any one of them to do more than gloss over the basic facts. The quality of local coverage in dailies has suffered immensely. This, however, has been a boon to true community newspapers, which are by definition, hyperlocal.

The Johnson City News and Neighbor has always understood that coverage of a county commission election is far more important to our readers than coverage of a national election in the Ukraine.

As dailies across America have cut newsroom staff, community newspapers like The Johnson City News & Neighbor have hired the best reporters and columnists. In the last year we have published articles by Don Fenley, formerly of the Kingsport Times News, and hired as associate editor Jeff Keeling, former business editor of The Johnson City Press.

The News & Neighbor has consistently maintained a high level of accomplishment in the community newspaper industry. With five General Excellence awards, eight top national awards and the top editorial award in 2013 along with over 50 advertising, editorial, photography and personal column awards from newspaper and advertising associations, News & Neighbor is recognized as one of the top community newspapers in America. The paper has also received numerous community and civic awards.

 

The Only Community Newspaper

The Johnson City News & Neighbor is the only locally owned major media property in Johnson City/Washington County. The revenue produced by this publication goes right back into this community. It is not sent off to some corporate office in another state.

Our staff is local. Our owners are local. Every dime that gets paid in salary and wages by News & Neighbor stays here. And when each issue hits the streets, you, our readers, purchase locally a huge dollar amount of goods and services based on the discounts you find in ads in this paper. Those purchases stimulate the local economy and fund the tax base.

The way we do business benefits the community as well. Years ago, we created a competitive atmosphere with other media that forced them to lower their advertising rates. Today, News & Neighbor’s free distribution model offers the maximum coverage and market penetration with the most cost effective advertising rates of any media in Johnson City and Washington County.

Highlighting people and events that make our community a great place to live and work.

Highlighting people and events that make our community a great place to live and work.

Some competitors have said in the past that because we offer free distribution, we count among our circulation figures recipients of the paper who do not read it. Consistent readership audits, however, tell us that those who receive the paper overwhelmingly do read it, and read it consistently.

So we’ll gladly put our readership numbers up against anyone in the market when it comes to delivering bang for the advertisers’ buck.

The newspaper’s circulation and readership have continuously been audited since 2002 supporting its 30,700 home delivery in the market. That figure is nearly 60% more coverage than any other local print media. If you make advertising decisions for a company or organization, please read that last sentence again.

Regular readership percentages each audit period show News & Neighbor in the top 25% of community newspapers in America. According to the Circulation Verification Council President Tim Bingaman, “The Johnson City News & Neighbor’s readership is astronomical.” The Circulation audit and readership survey are available for everyone to review on demand.

If all this sounds like puffery and pride on our part, please understand, we just want you to know why we are so grateful to you, our readers and advertisers. For the last 16 years, you have shown us the way to build a successful business by serving you.

We are of this community, by this community and for this community – first, best, only and always. Thank you for the opportunity to continue to be your community newspaper.