It’s like Deja Vu all over again! Psych!

Public News (Houston) - - FRONT PAGE -

Dear Read­ers, This will be the fi­nal is­sue of the Pub­lic News. I never thought that I would have to write this, but the Pub­lic News is en­ter­tain­ing an of­fer by the Hous­ton Press to buy our lit­tle news­pa­per. I’ve made the de­mands for the buy­out pretty high and the folks at Voice Me­dia (the cor­po­rate own­ers of Hous­ton Press) did not blink an eye, at least not that I could tell over the tele­phone.

From the ge­n­e­sis of Pub­lic News 2.0 back in 2006, we nar­rowed our mar­ket reach to the tens of thou­sands of read­ers nor­mally ig­nored by the Press in the north and north­west metro ar­eas. In fact, it’s dif­fi­cult to find print copies of the Press in the Pub­lic News cov­er­age area, some­thing that may have ig­nited the de­sire to kill off, I mean buy­out, the Pub­lic News. When a pub­li­ca­tion goes into a print death cy­cle from over 100,000 copies down to around 40,000 the re­ac­tion is nat­u­rally to kill off com­pe­ti­tion. This is the sort of thing that hap­pened to Pub­lic News 1.0, I can only imag­ine. I mean, when you re­ally look at it, when the Pub­lic News went fully dig­i­tal, print pa­pers hated the transition. The al­ba­tross around the neck of pa­pers like the Hous­ton Press is the ques­tion of le­gacy costs. How do you keep mak­ing money when your print cir­cu­la­tion is dy­ing off? Again, the an­swer is to kill off your com­pe­ti­tion. The Pub­lic News is flat­tered by the over­ture.

In all hon­esty, this was an early April Fool’s joke. The Pub­lic News is not go­ing any­where. We are stronger than we’ve ever been. In fact, print pa­pers like the Hous­ton Press are find­ing out that dig­i­tal is the way to go. How they find their way there is an­other story. We wish them well as they learn to play in the dig­i­tal back­yard that the Pub­lic News has called home since 2014. Our num­bers are go­ing up. Read­ers are lov­ing the fact that you don’t have to get dressed, get in the car and waste gas look­ing for a copy of the Pub­lic News. We’re on­line! We are down­load­able! We have all back is­sues avail­able to read with our distri­bu­tion part­ners. We fig­ured out the way to mon­e­tize this lit­tle news­pa­per’s ex­is­tence. No mat­ter what the Press does, the Pub­lic News has al­ready won.

Ken Petty

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