With the launching of taterecord.com, the local newspaper is not only available to readers and subscribers faster and on a broader spectrum of media, but it comes with all sorts of bells and whistles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a hardcopy newspaper. I love the feel of the paper in my hand. I love the smell of the ink. I even love how the paper turns yellow with age. Yet, with the onset of the technical age, newspapers everywhere had to make a decision. To stay relevant in today’s world, we had to make changes and advancements. Hence, the birth of taterecord.com and her accompanying social media sites.
Perhaps it’s time for Senatobia Planning Commission to make some changes as well.
See, one advantage of having a website is that our staff at the paper gets to see real-time results on what our readers are not only viewing, but what articles they are commenting on and responding to as well. It’s really very simple logic that follows: if an article receives a lot of views and comments, then we know the article is of interest to our readers.
Now I can’t tell you the number of crime stories we have reported on in the past year. I lost count around March, to tell you the truth. Also, I have no idea how many uplifting feature stories we have written and ran, but it has been a fair amount as well.
What I can tell you is that we have published only two stories about PureThirteen Tattoo Company, but those two stories garnered more views, comments and responses than the last five shooting stories combined. And as an added tidbit, people responded faster to those two stories.
We ran an article about the planning commission denying the company a special exception to open a store at 220 Collonade Plaza in Senatobia in last week’s edition. They did this because in the City of Senatobia, tattoo shops are zoned for industrial while the location in Collonade Plaza is zoned for commercial.
While I can’t tell you the responses from our readers who adhere to reading the hardcopy of the paper, I can tell you the responses from our online readers.
The story went live at 8 a.m. Wed., Dec. 29, and by 2 p.m. the same day, the single article had been read online 1,400 times. By comparison, in the same edition, we ran an article about the city receiving $1.64 million in funds for the wastewater treatment plant. By 2 p.m., only 276 readers had viewed the article.
On social media sites, the response was just as fast and perhaps more aggressive. We saw outrage from readers who were hoping for the store to open. Not the first person commented showing support for the zoning commission’s decision.
William Perry, owner of PureThirteen, currently has two locations: one in Horn Lake and the other in Wolfchase Galleria in Memphis. By Perry’s own admission, his store in Horn Lake is zoned in an industrial area. He asked for the exception in Senatobia because he plans to have a boutique in the front of the store and provide tattoos in closed rooms in the back. The planning commission denied his request because if they made an exception for one, they’d have to do it for all. Again, all the logic seems pretty simple and straightforward.
Now with a business, such as a newspaper, we have to make changes and grow with our audience if we hope to continue to stay in business. The collected people of society wanted access to the news on their smartphones and computers. Newspapers complied. Now there are still those like me who prefer to have their hardcopy newspaper, but the option is now available to those who prefer the digital method.
Running a city is similar. It’s just on a much larger scale. If a municipality wants to grow and keep up with the younger generations, there are decisions which have to made. In order to attract more people to moving and staying in an area, sometimes changes must be made. Revisions to outdated mandates and plans are sometimes needed to maintain a positive growth chart.
Now I’m not saying a poor decision was made. Again, logically the commission’s decision was sound and backed by ordinances; however, I also know the readers have spoken in a resoundingly solid way. They don’t agree with current policies.
Perhaps it’s time for the planning commission to reevaluate regulations. Just as newspapers made changes to keep up with readers, maybe it’s time for Senatobia to do the same for its citizens.