|By G. Michael Dobbs|
Springfield voters will have a choice on Tuesday to increase the term of the mayor from two to four years. Proponents of Question One have been branding the question with the name "Question One" after being told by city election officials that is how the question will be titled on the ballot.
The question is apparently appearing without that heading. It is the only question on the ballot and the people who hope voters will approve the change are concerned the lack of a heading will confuse the public.
So when you go to vote, remember to answer the question.
Here's a testimony to the power of the press: several weeks ago we ran a story about how a long-time employee of Bright-wood Hardware in Longmeadow had retired. Now I've been told people think that Moe the owner is retiring and closing the store.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Moe has stated he will be there as "long as Moe's body lasts."
So go shopping with confidence at Brightwood Hardware. Moe is still there.
Hey, back in the old days hard core, old school wasn't a celebrity someone known for accomplishments? Didn't you actually have to do something to be famous? So when did Jose Canseco, Michael Lohan and Rodney King become celebrities? And doesn't their coming to Springfield to box come across like a VH1 reality show idea? Don't get me wrong if they're earning a living, God bless them, but that is a sad way to earn a living.
Unlike some people I know, I'm not a vulture waiting for the local daily to die. In fact, I believe a healthy daily paper is a necessity for the democratic process and for a region's positive economic development. However, a story last week about how many daily papers have suffered more drops in circulation certainly was viewed as another nail in the coffin for print newspapers.
By the way, all traditional media are in financial trouble, but daily newspapers have done a spectacular job standing out in public and reporting how they are slitting their own throats. Television and radio as well as magazines have been much more circumspect.
The interesting news is that smaller, community-based weeklies are doing better and giving readers the local news they want, while creating an effective advertising medium for businesses.
Now, don't take my word for it. The Circulation Verification Council (CVC), which audits the circulation of weekly newspapers, has reported gains for 45 percent of the publications in the Community Newspaper category; 54 percent of the publications in the Alternative Newsweeklies category; and 54 percent of the publications in the Ethnic Publications category.
And the CVC reports the number of readers indicating they frequently purchase products or services from advertisements seen in their community and niche publications is up over a point from last year, topping three out of four with a 75.6 percent score.
"This increase is potentially significant, because purchase intention scores have been stable for years," according to CVC President Tim Bingaman. "A blip in the national average of one to two percent requires substantial change in purchasing behaviors from existing readers. This shows that readers are increasingly looking to community and niche publications to research sales and buying opportunities before spending money."
Newspapers remain a viable form of communications and I'm not just saying that; you are.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to email@example.com or to 280 N. Main St.,East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.
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