In our earlier post, we posted that Austin Weekly News increased its circulation by 22% to cover the neighborhoods of West and East Garfield Park. EPMG jumped on the opportunity to speak with Dan Haley, Publisher of Austin Weekly News, about his publication’s circulation expansion.
EPMG: What was the strategy you adopted to increase your circulation?
Dan Haley: Our strategy in assessing the opportunities to grow has always been simple and the same. We talk to people who live in the community we serve and we have been actively doing that in Garfield Park over the past year. The people we spoke to are community leaders from all walks of life; activists, politicians, ministers, educators – all of whom we’ve known over the years.
EPMG: Did the Census 2010 results contribute to the increase in Austin Weekly News’ circulation?
Dan Haley: We surely looked at the Census data, and 2010 Census tells a fascinating story about changes in population and ethnic mix on the West Side. However, we relied a lot more on our connections and conversations with the communities we serve. We want to cover communities, which we believe will benefit from our approach to neighborhood journalism by publishing very local news in print and online. The stories we cover focuses a lot on the opinions of local community members to tell the actual story. On Chicago’s West Side, we tell hard stories but it also means writing about great people doing great and remarketing things. In my opinion, that is what neighborhood journalism is about.
EPMG: Do you have something to tell advertisers about the unique features of Austin Weekly News?
Dan Haley: We’ve been publishing with that goal in Austin for more than 20 years and now there are people in Garfield Park who have asked us to come into their community and help tell their story. Of course, journalism needs to be paid for and we’ve worked hard to mine a base of advertisers which isn’t always as obvious as it is in other communities. There are a lot of commerce on the West side of Chicago; some of it are traditional grocery ads and health care advertising. We had also ran education ads in recent years as there are many schools with compelling stories to tell to motivated education consumers in Austin and Garfield Park neighborhoods. Besides, with our coverage broadening to the entire West Side, we are an even better vehicle for larger advertisers who want to reach an engaged African American audience.
EPMG: What is your experience working with EPMG?
Dan Haley: EPMG helps us make connections with potential advertisers. We’ve always found EPMG to be totally professional, always timely. And they are constantly looking for innovative ways to best serve their customers. As an independently owned business, we are open to innovation. That’s our future.