Saturday , 28 May 2016

Explorer Closes Print Edition

Governor LePage poses with a copy of the Explorer

I am sad to announce that the November 1, 2012 edition of the Penobscot Valley Explorer newspaper is that last that will be printed. Our first weekly edition came out back on March 22nd of 2012, and last week’s paper was the 31st to go to press. We were distributing approximately 3000 copies around the Penobscot Valley region each week, and had about 400 more people downloading the .pdf version of the paper.

To be honest, I was not expecting the paper to close. I have received almost overwhelmingly positive feedback on the paper since we started publishing it. People seemed to like the “Local Faces, Local Names, Local News” approach that was heavier on photos and positive community items and lighter on news-y reporting. We were not the Lincoln News, nor did we ever intend to be the same type of publication. We tried to tie the paper in with a popular website and Facebook page to offer a media platform that no one else in our area had. And advertisers seemed to like the combination, as our ad revenue continued to grow throughout the life of the publication.

But apparently it didn’t grow enough to support the paper. I received an unexpected call from Bob at Hometown Newspapers on Tuesday letting me know that it wasn’t sustainable any more, and that he was pulling the plug. He did offer to print one more final edition to announce the closure, but I didn’t see any point in having him lose money on one more edition.

So you may be wondering what that means for the Exploring Lincoln website and Facebook pages. The answer is I don’t know yet. I ran Exploring Lincoln for nearly a year before starting the paper, and the popularity it had accumulated was what made Hometown Papers approach me about starting the Explorer. It has continued to grow since then, to the point now where nearly 5000 people have liked the Facebook page, and thousands of people are hitting the website and interacting with the content each week. That’s not bad when you consider that the town lists the population of Lincoln as 5221 on their website.

The bulk of that traffic comes from the photos of local sports and area events I publish, and also from some of the community news and business spotlights I write. And the truth is that I was doing that before the paper started, and can continue to do it even though the paper is gone. I really enjoy getting out in the community with my camera, meeting lots of folks, and capturing cool moments as they participate in life in small-town Maine. What the paper allowed me to do was to make a little money while doing it so that I could justify all the time I spent taking, editing, and posting photos. I will continue Exploring Lincoln in some form, but haven’t worked out the details yet.

What I can say now is thank you – thanks to all the businesses that advertised in the paper, thanks to all the stores and offices that distributed copies, and especially thanks to all the people who read it each week. I really appreciate all the encouragement and compliments I have received over the past 8 or 9 months in the paper business, and am sorry that the print copy, at least for now, is dead. Please keep checking the website and Facebook page, as local content and photos will continue. And stay tuned to see what comes next…

7 comments

  1. Terri Betty Magnant

    Your paper will be MISSED! I enjoyed reading it! It was a very positive outlook on our community and I truly think that the community needs that kind of outlook! You had an AMAZING run, one to be PROUD of! Thank you for putting forth such GREAT effort! It has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated! You took a lot of time and effort to pull this community together and make us laugh and smile! I hope that this continues online 🙂

  2. Hi Steve,
    Many people, although they have really enjoyed ‘The Explorer’ since its first publication, may not take the time to sit down and express their gratitude by e-mail. I am doing this because you set an example with your unselfish and personal time that you have devoted to the comunities in this area. I am going to miss the ‘Explorer’ but do know that we also enjoy your publications and pictures of sports events.
    This world deserves more kind people like you.

    Lewis Day

  3. I'm sorry to hear this sad news! I enjoyed the paper, reading it both online and in print (couldn't do the sudoku online:)! I certainly hope the Exploring Lincoln continues as you have brought some different perspectives to what you do! I know the time you have put into this, and thank you! You have so many pictures of my own sons that I LOVED looking forward to seeing! Best wishes and God's richest blessings!

  4. OH NO YOU CAN'T DO THIS! I so have enjoyed reading your paper and you will be missed! :~(

  5. Very sorry to hear about the print version, Steve. I do love to read real paper and print, though I am learning that I am a disappearing breed. The Explorer is in very good company, if you consider that Newsweek has also made the decision to halt the print version, while Time will continue to publish. I have very much appreciated the difference between The Explorer and The Lincoln News. For me, there is room for both in our community; different perspectives and emphases keep ideas fresh and readers’ minds young! It is a joy to catch a glimpse of you, camera in hand, identifying the news unfolding before you, sometimes in big things and sometimes in the small or unexpected. You are a local treasure. Thank you for all you do, all the time.

    Peace ( and waiting for the unanticipatable blessings ),
    Bea Szantyr

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