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© Tom Eblen

One Fine Small-Market Newspaper

In Lawence, Kan., people who care about the news can get it just about any way they want.

At the core, of course, is a fine small-market newspaper, the Lawrence Journal-World, doing cutting-edge reporting. The newspaper’s online site offers not only the newspaper but also areas that the newspaper doesn’t have time or space to develop, such as rock music. And the newspaper’s local cable channel covers much more than most small-market television stations.

Under the ownership of the World Company, those three entities work separately and also together to create converged news coverage. No need here for walking on eggshells. The goal is convergence, and the World Company in Lawrence represents the state of the art.

That state doesn’t come without cost, of course. As a family-owned newspaper company, the Journal-World’s patriarch is Dolph Simons Jr., who represents the third generation of his family to own and operate the newspaper. Without a doubt, he could push more money to the bottom line, but he doesn’t have to answer to the mandates of corporate ownership and the need to jump a little higher this year than last year.

The result we see in Lawrence is a newspaper and a newspaper company that are trying new things, that are investing for the future rather than sucking out every last buck this year.

And the winners are … the readers, the cable viewers and the online users, who extend far beyond the limits of print and broadcast. If convergence is the path to the future of news and information, the World Company is well-positioned for this millennium.

© Tom Eblen

The writer, Tom Eblen, retired a year and a half ago from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He had been general manager and news adviser of the student newspaper, the University Daily Kansan, for 15 1/2 years. He has been editor and general manager of a small daily newspaper and city editor and managing editor of the Kansas City Star. He is an editorial consultant to the Kansas Press Association.



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