Friday, November 9, 2007

The right time

Welcome to my favorite weekend of the year. The weather will be crisp. Thanksgiving is in sight. And the political season is over. That means the road signs will be gone and mostly what we'll be hearing are the sounds of silence. Enjoy.


I again had the honor of being master of ceremonies at the Rip Van Council, Boy Scouts of America's annual awards dinner last night. It was the fourth straight year at the microphone for me for reasons about which I'm not entirely clear. Not bad for a former Cub Scout from Parkchester. You want to know what's right in our community? Show up at one of these events. Wonderful young people, dedicated volunteers and worthwhile projects. That's what Scouting is all about. And if you weren't there to hear Webelos Scout Vinny Castaldo, a Port Ewen fifth-grader, bring down the house with his remarks, you really missed something.


The only newspaper in our company whose Internet site had more page views on Election Night that ours was the New Haven Register, and it's in a large city with a print circulation about five times more than the Freeman's. No doubt some of our nearly 80,000 page views were by those hungry for results that were unavailable when Ulster County's election site crashed. Nonetheless, the turnout reinforces what we in the industry have been telling anyone who'll listen: Although paid circulation of the traditional print products is declining, when you combine print and on-line, newspapers like ours have never been better read. We're at about 800,000 page views a month, with well over 100,000 unique visitors a month. And in our case, the latter number is only going to grow as we continue to add content, video, podcasts and other unique features, including a redesign scheduled to be up and running in about a month.


You may have seen my son Matt's picture in the paper the other day. The Associated Press captured him carrying a picket sign and a bullhorn outside Fox Studios in Los Angeles, where he writes for the animated sitcom "American Dad." Next day Matt was pictured with the legendary Hollywood entertainment writer Army Archerd for his Variety on-online column. As you probably know, the Writers Guild of America is on strike against the Hollywood producers and studios. Typically, nobody wins when there's a strike. Here's hoping cooler heads prevail and a settlement is reached soon.
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