Almost every day when I go to North Tampa Bay Chamber ribbon-cutting and other local events, I have at least one local business owner tell me that they don’t do any print advertising at all — and that Facebook, Instagram and other online advertising outlets are the only places they spend their money these days.

And then, inevitably, there’s always at least one person, who may or may not think that they’re being funny, who will tell me, “Haven’t you heard? Print is dead!”

When my blood finishes boiling, I usually explain that I’ve been the owner and editor of the Neighborhood News in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel for 25 years and that people who live in our communities — whether they got here before I took over an 11-month-old monthly in 1994 or they just got here last year — tell me constantly that the Neighborhood News is the only local publication of any kind that they read cover-to-cover. I’m not dissing any other publication, I’m just repeating what I hear literally every day. 

But, before you say, “Yeah, right!,” and turn the page to see another great python pic or read about the upcoming second annual New Tampa Brew Fest (see pages 40-43), consider something as simple as our annual Reader Dining Survey & Contest, which appears for the last time for 2019 on page 35 of this issue.

Last year, when there were many more spaces to fill in than in this year’s revised, much simpler survey, we received fewer than 300 entries — not bad as local magazine contests go, but far fewer than our record 1,200+ Dining Survey Contest entries received either three or four years ago.

This year, that number actually may surpass 1,500 entries before this year’s November 11 entry deadline.

Yes, this year’s contest is easier to enter and yes, we’ve had quite a few people who have entered to date fill out the survey on our website. However, we also believe that the vast majority of the people who go to the website to fill out the survey still read about the contest in our print editions first and then go online to fill out the survey to save themselves the extra effort (and cost) of having to put the survey in an envelope, writing the address info on the envelope, paying for and using a stamp and dropping it in the mailbox. So exhausting!

But, even if some of those entries came from people who only read about it online, how do you explain the 600+ people who already have taken the time to open one of our recent issues and do just that? And, I can assure you, with stories by managing editor John C. Cotey like the Burmese python hunter from Cory Lake Isles, The Brunchery coming to Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., the latest on the Kinnan-Mansfield flap and getting to be the first local media of any kind to break the story about the new owner of The Grove at Wesley Chapel shopping center, to name just a few — I know that the vast majority of our print readers still have not entered that contest at all.

Yes, we have worked hard to make the Neighborhood News a true multimedia experience, but the next time someone tells you that print is dead, make sure you tell them to take a look at the kind of information the Neighborhood News print editions provide for you about your community every four weeks — and that all it takes for you to keep up with what’s happening in your community is actually open it when you take it out of your mailbox.   

Neighborhood News Online Update     

I can’t believe that as this issue is reaching your mailbox, the calendar has turned to November, which means that we are nearing the end of the year in which we became one of only 23 U.S. media companies to receive 2019 funding from the Google News Initiative. 

A lot has happened in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel over these past ten months, and we have done our best to keep up with the incredible amount of important hyperlocal news coming out of both of our distribution areas. 

In fact, although we are still a little behind on our goal of reaching five new video releases every week, we are now right at three videos per week, up from only one every other week through the end of 2018.

But of course, it’s not just about the quantity of videos we release — it’s about the quality. In fact, since we became the first local news provider to break the story — in video first, then in print in our October 18 Wesley Chapel issue — about Mark Gold, the new owner of The Grove, the video has surpassed 10,500 views on Facebook and the Facebook post of John’s print story may have set a record for us, with a reach of nearly 80,000 people and 7,800+ total engagements!

I also have been thrilled that most of the nearly 21 videos we have released in the seven weeks since September have totalled nearly 80,000 views and an average of 4,300 views per video.

In fact, with a reach of nearly 700,000, and 400,000 views through Oct 25, we have an outside chance of breaking a video reach of one million people and 500,000 video views for 2019, especially if we can inch closer to our goal of five video releases per week.

And, we almost certainly will have an even bigger reach for our print stories that get posted on Facebook with a click-through to our website,!

So no, not only is print not dead when you’re talking about the Neighborhood News, we also are the only local media outlet offering you and your business in or serving New Tampa and/or Wesley Chapel a truly multimedia advertising opportunity. Get yours today! 

Call (813) 910-2575 today to find out how to get started!  

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