News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2006
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SCOTT MORRIS

We resolve to be better in 2006

Putting out a daily newspaper is not exactly a science.

We can't take a precision instrument and calibrate our product to make sure it comes within a millimeter's tolerance of perfection.

Yes, you should expect us to get the facts right, and you should demand that we get the paper to your house on time and in good condition.

But beyond that, what does a perfect newspaper contain and how does it look?

Our readers range from Republican to Democrat, from bank executive to assembly line worker, from silver-haired to blond, from man to woman, from Presbyterian to Pentecostal.

We all have different ideas of what we want from a newspaper. Even those of us who write the stories and design the pages seldom agree.

But we do agree on one thing.

We want to get better. We have to get better.

2005 was not a great year at most newspapers, including THE DECATUR DAILY.

Circulation continues to decline while readership on our Internet site continues to swell. For the short term that's bad because we make money off advertising in the newspaper, not the Internet.

While we're wandering through this revenue wilderness, we're providing our product free on the Internet in hopes of building a good Web site that advertisers can use.

The newspaper industry's current cost-cutting mode is no fun. Like so many other companies, we are trying to do more with less until we turn things around.

That doesn't mean, however, that your newspaper isn't investing in the future. THE DAILY is a family owned company, which means it doesn't have to bend to the cold world of stockholder-driven newspaper chains, which put profits ahead of their communities.

The Decatur area's future is the newspaper's future.

We are bringing in a newspaper veteran who works across the nation to improve reporting and writing skills. We are hiring a redesign firm to make the newspaper look better and to be easier to read.

We've challenged every department, from advertising to mail room, to make 2006 a starting point for good things in the future.

For the new year, we resolve to employ people who work hard and have fun putting out a daily newspaper.

We resolve to be an important part of your daily life.

We resolve to help the Tennessee Valley become a better place to work, live and raise children.

As we enter 2006, we can't calibrate the newspaper's success with a machinist tool.

The creative aspect of writing and designing a newspaper defies measurement, but it also makes a newspaper more appealing. If you know what lies on the next page, there's no reason to turn there.

That's the way we feel about our future.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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