This week’s newspaper marks our 104th weekly edition of The Lewisville Texan Journal in print. August 15, 2015 was the first time we put our stories into newspaper format.
For those who aren’t familiar, The Lewisville Texan Journal started around 2004 as a blog, eventually morphing into an online news site, adopting our current name in 2011.
I publish this newspaper in my “spare” time, and I still work a full–time job as a computer programmer. As a business, news is tough. I do it because I love it. Even before print – for years Lewisville Texans have trusted us to bring them the stories that matter.
I could take the time to share with you in this column some of our accomplishments, or the many things I have learned over the past couple of years. Awards and recognition are nice. Scooping other news outlets feels good. Publishing a story that has a positive impact on people and the community is rewarding. Learning each day how to bring our readers better insight into their city is exciting. Meeting and talking to the people who shape this community is enriching and humbling.
I think what I’d really like to talk about here is what the future holds for The Lewisville Texan Journal.
We are Lewisville’s only locally owned, independent newspaper. My editor, my business manager and I are all University of North Texas graduates who live, shop, eat, work, and play in Lewisville. We don’t have any aspirations to start a chain or expand into other markets. We think that time, history, presence and relationships matter.
We also still think of the news and journalism as more than just a medium to carry advertisements. We see it as a vital part of our democracy, equipping citizens with the information they need to make their decisions. Whether they are voting with their ballots, their time, their dollars, or their feet, we think better-informed citizens make better choices. We think a more connected community is a nicer and safer community.
We typically publish about eight pages a week. It could easily be 24. We need more staff. To do that, we have to sell more advertising and subscriptions. To sell more advertising, we need to have more readers, and we need those readers to support the businesses who step up in the community and support local journalism.
The LTJ has big plans. We want Lewisville Texans to be proud of their city and engaged in its news. We think a city of our size deserves its own newspaper that is laser–focused on the happenings within our borders. We want to provide our readers with all they need to understand what’s going on in our city. We want to inform and entertain. We want to be timely, relevant and fair.
Within the next few months, Lewisville will see a third newspaper set up shop here. Another corporate chain sees this market in terms of numbers, and wants to bring in a team to try to do what we do.
We are not that worried. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing for as long as the community will support it. Each of us votes with our dollars every day here for what kind of community we want.
Mass-market corporate advertisers will largely stick to mass-mailed non-controversial news-lite publications that will promise thousands of eyeballs because they mail or throw to thousands of homes — whether the owners want it or not.
You’ll see us writing stories about things that matter — even when it hurts. You’ll see local advertisers — mom–and–pop small businesses who spend their money right here in the community keep supporting us. We hope you’ll support them too.
We are grateful to our subscribers, advertisers, donors and supporters for your trust and confidence in us over the years, and especially this past two years in print. We hope to earn your continued support in the years to come.