Newspapers have to adapt to survive

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Newspapers have long played a critical role in the thought and discussion of just about every topic – from politics to books to health to personal finance to sports to food to science to ... well, you name it.

The Internet age has presented plenty of challenges to our industry. The Rocky Mount Telegram – in print and online – is one source among hundreds of thousands competing for visitors, readers and page clicks. As many publications have done, we have reinvigorated our approach to community news, in particular, to remain an important voice and resource in the Rocky Mount area.

It hasn’t been the easiest of avenues, but under the leadership of Publisher Mark Wilson and former Publisher Rip Woodin, we have remained viable and more relevant than ever to readers and advertisers in our community.

Other newspapers have faced an even tougher path.

It was with great regret that we reported last week’s closing of The Daily Southerner in Tarboro. The Southerner was one of the oldest newspapers in all of North Carolina.

The Telegram and The Southerner competed for readers and advertisers in Edgecombe County, but it was a friendly competition. Although we knew something about the struggles it had faced in recent years, we had hoped the newspaper would find its way again out of these tough economic times. We wish the members of the newspaper’s staff all the best now as they enter the next chapter of their lives.

The Rocky Mount Telegram already has begun retooling to offer coverage of news and events in the Tarboro community. We’re printing a special edition today to keep our Tarboro friends informed on important issues in their area. In the coming weeks, we plan to launch a weekly newspaper whose focus will be Tarboro and the surrounding area.

Newspapers must change and adapt quickly in order to survive. We’re happy to expand our offerings to serve our longtime neighbors.