To our readers:
Today marks the start of a new day here at the Bennington Banner. As I walk through the building lately, there's a level of energy that wasn't so apparent two weeks ago. Readers who have been following the news know that I'm referring to the sale of our newspaper to a group of local, passionate and accomplished business leaders.
The Bennington Banner has a history of local ownership that reaches back to 1841 as a weekly newspaper serving southern Vermont and eastern New York. The Miller family brought the Banner in 1960 and held it until 1995 when MediaNews Group acquired it from them.
For the past 21 years, this newspaper and its affiliated publications and websites were owned by what became known as Digital First Media. Headquartered in New York, DFM has newspaper groups throughout the country. Much emphasis was placed on a print-to-digital transformation, particularly because DFM's largest newspaper clusters are located in metro markets such as Denver, Los Angeles and the Bay Area in California.
Here in smaller markets like ours, where communities are closely connected, readers are still interested in reading a quality print product. Local ownership allows us to invest in your newspaper, so that it will be enjoyed today and well into the future, and in an array of digital news platforms on desktop and mobile devices. In all, this change in ownership represents a win for our readers and advertisers, as well as for the team of media professionals who work with me here at the Banner.
Today, the real transformation work begins. Our strategic plans call for bringing back jobs that had been consolidated into other DFM locations. We'll be enhancing our products by improving quality and adding additional relevant and compelling content.
Subscription plans are being overhauled with the goal of having an offer that will fit every reader's wants, budget and habits.
Advertising opportunities will continue to grow with results being the benchmark. A community newspaper should partner with its advertising partners to drive traffic, and our focus is sharpened in that direction.
The Banner will be stronger than ever in community and civic partnerships.
As we think about the future of the Banner, feedback from our community will help drive the change in its look and feel. Our newspaper should be a reflection of the community it serves, and that's what local ownership is about. Please reach out to us during the coming days and weeks with your ideas, suggestions, desires and thoughts.
How do you envision the Banner? How should it look? What additional topics would catch your interest? Please share this information with us and be a part of this very exciting change here in southern Vermont.
Feel free to reach out directly if you'd like to chat. My office number is 802-447-7567, ext. 105. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, I begin a new venture as I lead the Bennington Banner under local ownership. Join me by offering your input.
— Ed Woods, publisher of the Bennington Banner