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Monday, Jan. 8, 2024
Good morning to you!

I bought a traditional paid subscription weekly newspaper 18 months ago. I shut it down last week. That’s the short story. Here’s the longer one.

A few years prior, I bought another publication in Guthrie County called Lake Panorama Times. It is a free monthly mailed to every property owner at the lake, and it is a good business today. About two years ago, when the publisher of the weekly newspaper, the Guthrie County Times Vedette, approached me about buying his newspaper, I decided to listen. His price was fair, so I bought it. My logic was that, if I could figure out how to make the paid subscription model work, I could buy a number of other papers in the area, too, and we could create another nice publishing company. When I bought the Times Vedette, several people in the community told me, “Congratulations… I think?” That should have been my first sign.

After 18 months, I gave up on the paid subscription model. I am proud of the improvements we made to the newspaper, but mass readership and advertising results are the name of the game today, not paid subscriptions or legal revenue. So I did what I know how to do. I launched two new free monthlies and packaged them with the Lake Panorama Times, and this has worked quite well. One problem remained — the paid subscription weekly newspaper I still owned.

I learned a few other things along the way, and one of them is how to publish an effective email newsletter. You are reading one right now. So I followed this model and converted the Times Vedette to a free, twice-weekly email newsletter, and I expect it will soon have more subscribers than the paid newspaper did, which will create another option for advertisers. So far, so good, but we are just getting started. If you look at the early versions of The Daily Umbrella, you will see that we made many changes along the way to this, too. I expect the same with the Times Vedette.

Meanwhile, those who still want a printed paper in their hands are upset with me. I get it. I would prefer that option, too, but we live in a world today where only a small fraction of people are willing to buy subscriptions. That doesn’t mean print is dead. We continue to prove that theory to be wrong, which is obvious by the dozens of free publications we publish. I just couldn’t find a way to make a paid publication worth the time and money I had to put into it.

Our business model is simple. We create news people want to read so we can deliver audiences for advertisers to get results. The methods of distribution will change, but the mission won’t. I compare our industry to the music industry. Good music is good music, regardless of whether you listen to it via vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs or streaming. We may not “drop the needle” as much anymore, but we still seek out music. And, in Guthrie County and all of central Iowa, people can continue to seek out Big Green Umbrella Media for reliable news and information in print, online, in your email, on social media and in future places we can’t yet envision.

Have a marvelous Monday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The polls have closed and a record number of readers have cast their votes in the latest CITYVIEW'S Best Of Des Moines readers' poll — the metro's original and largest poll of its kind.
Winners will be announced in the February 2024 issue of CITYVIEW!

Your Clear Mortgage forecast

Snow, possibly mixed with rain at first, will begin this afternoon and last into Tuesday afternoon. By then, 5-8” will likely have fallen in the Des Moines area, with heavier amounts south and east. In addition, winds will gust to 35 mph or higher Tuesday. Additional snow chances are possible Thursday and next weekend as temperatures plummet. And the week after could be even colder.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.
221 Maple St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
MOVE IN READY - Located along the pristine waters of the Des Moines River lies our incredibly sought-after community, The Banks. When you choose to purchase a home at The Banks, you are choosing a life of urban excellence without losing out on a spacious home interior that you have always desired. The always popular Azure plan showcases modern, designer detail at every turn including the DUAL PRIMARY SUITES!
See More Homes For Sale

 Mushroom foragers poisoned themselves 11% more often in 2023 than previous years, TND reported. Longer foraging seasons, forged by warmer temperatures, are blamed.

Iowa Restaurant Association listed their top prorities of 2024.

1.) Seeking ways to restrict credit card fees on state sales tax
2.) Simplifying the purchase of highly allocated wine and spirits for restaurants and bars
3.) Expanding the responsible alcohol service training class options which meet the affirmative defense standard
4.) Elimination of the 4th Tier status of restaurants and bars in spirits sales
5.) Creation of a work drive permit for 14 ½ and 15- year-olds.

Monday brings half priced pizza and Peroni at Centro (1003 Locust St., Des Moines).

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Iowa winter storm: Timing, snowfall totals, travel impacts

DES MOINES, Iowa — A winter storm watch Monday and Tuesday for western has been expanded to cover most of the state. Expect heavy snowfall, blowing and drifting snow and dangerous travel conditions Monday into Tuesday. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: 1 killed in Madison County rollover crash Sunday

MADISON COUNTY, Iowa — A Winterset man died in a single-vehicle rollover crash Sunday night. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office said a 911 call came in around 7:45 p.m. about a crash near the intersection of 230th St. and Upland Ave. That’s about five miles northwest of St. Charles..READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Iowa's Christian conservatives follow their faith when voting, and some say it leads them to Trump

DES MOINES, Iowa — Pastor Charles Hundley opened his worship service on a cold Sunday in northeast Des Moines with a prayer that made it clear one endorsement above all will matter in Iowa’s caucuses eight days away.. ...READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

From the Iowa Living magazines

Class act
Residents share why they continue to expand their horizons through learning.

By Ashley Rullestad

You learn something new every day. Sometimes it’s by accident, but sometimes it’s intentional. Some continue their education out of necessity — to maintain a license, for example — while others enroll to further their career or launch a new one. Still others simply want to learn a new hobby or expand their horizons. Whatever the case, the thirst for knowledge knows no age limit or bounds. And plenty of opportunities — in person and online — are out there to quench it.

Growing as a gardener
Paula Farrell has been gardening for more than 25 years. She credits some of her interest in the hobby with visiting her mother-in-law and learning from her. In that time, she’s learned a lot, but she decided to kick it up a notch this year and complete the Master Gardener program.
The Master Gardener program is a volunteer service program where adults are given advanced training in horticulture in exchange for volunteer service to the community. Through their participation in educational activities, Master Gardeners also increase their own personal knowledge in horticulture.
Read more in the January issue of Johnston Living magazine.
Birthdays and notables

Happy Birthday Vern Adams, Amy Mueggenberg and Ruth Wallace

These celebrities were born on this date: Damiano David, Ryan Destiny, Noah Cyrus, Genevieve Padalecki, Freddie Stroma, Rian McCririck, Shirley Bassey

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

Was there ever a great movie about hotdogs? YES! THERE WAS ONE OSCAR WIENER! Or, Wiener Dogs Nationals (2013) - Gail Tomlinson. Or, NO! I never SAUSAGE a film! - Lori Bluml.

Today's riddle

Why are giraffes so slow to apologize?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

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Johnston, Iowa 50131