Ohio newspapers print blank page to show what local news coverage looks like without local papers
By Jason Sanford, ONA Manager of Communications and Content
Two daily newspapers in Ohio ran an unusual ad last week to show the news coverage communities receive without local papers — a blank page.
The ads ran in The Evening Leader in St. Marys and The Wapakoneta Daily News. At the bottom of the blank page was the newspapers’ logos and these words: “This is the kind of local coverage you can expect if you don’t have a local newspaper.”
Deb Zwez, group publisher for both papers, said “I’ve been threatening to run this kind of ad for years because I get so frustrated when readers — and especially nonreaders — complain that there's never anything to read in the paper and use that as a reason to not subscribe.”
The newspapers ran the ads twice last week as part of National Newspaper Week, an industry observance which highlights the importance of newspapers to their communities.
According to Zwez, the papers received about a half dozen calls from people complaining that the page was blank. Her favorite response, though, was a voice mail from a reader who didn’t want to pay for that paper because he was missing a page. The reader wanted someone to call him and tell him what news he’d missed on the blank page. A subsequent phone call brought his attention to the words at the bottom of the ad.
Zwez invites all newspapers around the country to create their own version of the ad. “It makes for a pretty powerful statement,” she said.