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Hometown news and the future of newspapers

by: Vance Tong - Vance W. Tong is the publisher and editor of the Central Oregonian. He can be reached at: 
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There's a common factoid that is continually being repeated which says that newspaper circulation is declining.
   I'm here to tell you that's only partially true.
   Nationwide, newspaper circulation of large daily newspapers has generally been on the decline.
   Small-town newspapers, however, are quite often a different story.
   Consider GateHouse Media Inc., a company which controls more than 400 publications - most all of them in small towns and suburbs.
   The company has been more than successful in creating the "hyperlocal" newspaper, with some of their publications enjoying a 40 percent profit margin.
   That, in essence, is what we try to do here at the Central Oregonian. Although we have a "State and Local" page, we hang our journalism hats on covering local news better than anyone else in the area.
   Famine in Rwanda? You're going to have to look for that story someplace else.
   Health care crisis in Michigan?
   Look for it on the Internet.
   Although we're always looking for ways to expand our coverage, we're never going to abandon local news coverage.
   It's what we do best.