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Her e-mail is one I’ve been dreading for nearly five years.It asks the question I don’t know exactly how to answer. More importantly, it addresses an issue ever-present on my mind, and on the minds of newspaper publishers everywhere.To Ms. Taylor, I promise I will soon reply to your e-mail, where you ask, among other things, what more The Oldham Era is offering you in print that we’re not offering you online. Please be patient as I try to figure out how.It shouldn’t be a difficult question to answer, yet it is. As more and more businesses “get” the online model and are making it work in phenomenal ways, newspapers find themselves behind the eight-ball, so to speak — still trying to figure out what online model works, but also keeps print alive.I have to say, I think that’s possible. And I think it’s what residents in small communities want.Within the pages of The Oldham Era is everything any person with an Oldham County connection needs to continue to be connected. We help our readers make informed spending decisions, be informed about what’s going on in the community and be a part of Oldham County life. It’s a weekly hand-held piece of history that has enormous value to the community.Still, we are challenged with how to present this information on the World Wide Web, and have, thus far, offered a free model where readers can get basically everything they get weekly in print electronically. It’s what we’ve been forced into — our society now demands it.Though this is what we now offer, though, this is not what we hope to continue. Instead of seeing the same content in both mediums, we want to begin providing an entirely different type of news online.We want to be a 24-hour news organization, where readers can find up-to-the-minute news about Oldham County — complete with video and audio — and post their own, while waiting to read more in-depth articles in print each week.We want to offer searchable databases for information relating to crime and real estate, while also offering business service databases for our advertisers to optimize their online presence.We’re far from there, unfortunately. We’re still trying to figure out how to produce that model. But trust me — when we get there, The Oldham Era will be the complete news source both in print and online, and we hope our readers will have no question that they need both in order to stay connected.The debate over print vs. online is fascinating to me, and one that I will continue to participate in even outside the Oldham County arena. As a matter of fact, this week I will begin to debate the issue with my colleagues on the Kentucky Press Association board ofdirectors.We begin the process on Friday of creating a strategic plan for our organization, the first ever. And I am certain how online fits into our future will be of great interest.What do you think? As a reader of The Oldham Era, do you prefer print, online, or both? Why? And where would you like to see us go in the future to best serve your needs?Send me an e-mail at email@example.com or call 222-7183 ext. 114. I’d love to hear what you think.
The views expressed in this column may not necessarily represent the views of The Oldham Era.