How would you like to publish your own newspaper for a $250 startup?
That’s the opportunity I am offering … kicking and screaming.
It’s real hard to walk away from something you believe in, but it’s time to hand over the reins of the Reveille/Between the Lakes, an official subscription-based Seneca County, NY, weekly newspaper.
I’ve been in the business for over 50 years and in upstate New York for over 22 years. Newspapers have not only been a job, but a part of my life … a very rewarding part of my life.
I went the traditional sales route, but after talking with a fellow publisher in Vermont facing the same issues, I decided to follow his lead of offering his — and my — paper to a new owner who demonstrated the same values we had.
That made sense to me. I don’t want to step back, but Father Time is catching up to me. In fact, a medical issue last week accelerated the decision. While I was mapping out a plan, it became painfully clear sooner was more important than later. That’s why I am sharing this news now rather in the upcoming weeks.
I want to see the Reveille/Between the Lakes continue to serve Seneca County and its environs. I believe in the community and I believe my subscribers are not just customers, but vested stakeholders who are informed and entertained by the newspaper. I often say, we are not the biggest, but we do strive to be the best. We are a voice – your voice – in Seneca County and the only newspaper completely owned and operated in the county for the county.
The plan is simple. I am offering the Reveille/Between the Lakes to someone with a passion for the printed word in a two-step contest. For $125, participants will receive a subscription to the newspaper, a prospectus and a guide to the area published by the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce. With that information and an additional $125, prospective entrants are asked to write a 500 word essay on their vision of being a publisher and a synopsis of a business plan that addresses editorial, advertising, distribution and marketing of the paper in today’s publishing environment. Those responses will be evaluated by a panel of judges and scored independently. The winner will receive the name, good will, advertising and circulation lists and introductions in the community. There is no real property involved.
I want the new owner(s) to be able to invest their personal capital on improving and expanding the paper. I believe there are opportunities for growth in all areas. Over 20 years ago I started putting my mark on this paper, but it’s time for new blood, new thinking and blending tradition with fresh approaches. It’s time for someone else with a passion for print to carry the mantle. I don’t want to be remembered as the paper’s last publisher.
The Reveille/Between the Lakes has been a staple under different banners since 1855. The current flag has flown since 1994 when I came to Seneca County.
Publishing is not for the timid. There’s an “it” factor. You have to believe there is a story in the ordinary and be willing to search it out without sensationalism. Weekly newspapers have unique challenges, knowing – and accepting – the fact you will never “scoop” other media, especially given today’s penchant for social media. But it can be extremely rewarding when you put the puzzle together each week and you receive a simple “thank you” from subscribers and advertisers. It has been those “thank yous” that have kept me going.
I have met so many wonderful people in Seneca County and I treasure each as not just vendors, sources, clients and customers, but truly as friends. I look at my subscription base as an extended family who have stood by me through good times and not so good times. It will be tough to walk away, but I recognize you can’t stay at the dance too long. There are other things I want to do without being tethered to a deadline.
This is the formal announcement of my plans with the official rules following.
The plan is to continue the contest until Nov. 15. I do reserve the right to control the nationwide contest in whatever way I deem best for me and the community. I am looking for a minimum of 100 entrants.
Each journey begins with a single step. This is my first step.
WIN THE REVEILLE/BETWEEN THE LAKES
OFFICIAL ESSAY CONTEST RULES & ENTRY
Telephone No.: Work No. (Optional) Cell No. (Optional):
I, the undersigned have read the Essay Contest Rules below and agree by submitting my entry and fee to abide by the rules as noted below.
Declare your intention by submitting a $125 down payment by credit card at squareup.com/store/reveille-between-the-lakes/ or attach to the above entry form with a money order or certified check to:
Reveille/Between the Lakes Essay Contest
P.O. Box 557
Seneca Falls, NY 13148-0557, USA
To continue participating after receiving a subscription to the newspaper, a prospectus and a guide to the area published by the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, submit an additional $125 by credit card (atsquareup.com/store/reveille-between-the-lakes/) , money order or certified check along with your essay.
ESSAY CONTEST RULES
1. SUBJECT/THEME: The essay shall address the following theme as its subject:
Why I would like to own and operate a paid weekly newspaper, founded in 1889.
2. DEADLINE: All entries must be physically in the hands of the publisher of the Reveille/Between the Lakes by no later than Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at 5 p.m. EST. This is a newspaper: no exceptions or extensions shall be granted. Entries should be sent to the Reveille/Betewen the Lakes by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or addressed to The Reveille/Between the Lakes Essay Contest, P.O. Box 557, Seneca Falls, NY 13148-0557, USA. Responsibility for lost, late or misdirected entries rests with the entrant. Any entry postmarked after Nov. 15, 2016 shall be returned to the entrant.
Sponsor reserves the right to unilaterally extend the deadlines of the essay contest entry and determination of the winning entries for a period of up to thirty (30) days. Notice of such extension shall be posted on the contest website: wisdomfromafather.wordpress.com/.
3. SPONSOR: This is an essay contest of skill, ability and knowledge. The winner will be selected by the criteria stated below as measured and evaluated by a panel of judges from the industry and community. This contest is sponsored by Reveille/Between the Lakes, having its principal office at PO Box 557, Seneca Falls, NY 13148-0557, USA (“Sponsor”). Sponsor shall not correspond directly with entrants but shall post any necessary supplemental information to the Reveille/Between the Lakes Contest website: wisdomfromafather.wordpress.com/. Sponsor reserves the right to modify, clarify or change rules as necessary throughout the competition as it deems fit. Posts will also be linked to Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/joe.siccardi and Twitter@revblt.
4. ELIGIBILITY: The essay contest may be entered by anyone worldwide who is 18 years of age or older, unless the laws of your state, province or country prohibit such contests, in which case this contest and offer are void.
Owners and ex-owners of the Reveille/Between the Lakes, their employees, agents and immediate family members are ineligible and may not participate in this contest. Judges of the contest and their immediate family members are also ineligible to enter.
Multiple entries, with multiple fees are permitted. Each entry must be an original work and must include a separate entry fees.
5. ESSAY ENTRY FEE: Each prospective entry must be accompanied by a $125 (US funds) down payment by credit card (at squareup.com/store/reveille-between-the-lakes/) or money order or certified check to Reveille/Between the Lakes Essay Contest, P.O. Box 557, Seneca Falls, NY 13148-0557, USA. To continue participating after receiving a subscription to the newspaper, a prospectus and a guide to the area published by the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, submit an additional $125 (US funds) by credit card (at squareup.com/store/reveille-between-the-lakes/), money order or certified check along with your essay. All entries shall be deemed received whether or not the essay adheres to the technical requirements as set forth herein.
BY ENTERING THIS CONTEST, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THE ESSAY CONTEST RULES.
Absolutely no refunds shall be made by reason of non-compliance or for any other reason except as stated below. There is no limit on how many entries will be received by the sponsor. A minimum of 100 actual entries will be necessary for the contest to go forward. If 100 entries are not received, the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to accept fewer entries and/or cancel the contest. In the event the contest is cancelled, all entry funds received only will be refunded. Down payments will not be refunded.
6. JUDGES: Essays will be reviewed and ranked by a panel of five judges, including a representative of the Sponsor. All judges, apart from sponsor’s representative, will not be related to or an employee or agent of Sponsor. Judges, apart from sponsor’s representative, shall not have financial interest in the business.
The panel of judges shall read and evaluate each essay properly submitted with a valid entry fee based on the following criteria:
* desire to operate a weekly newspaper (25 points)
* creativity (25 points)
* development of tentative business plan addressing content, production, distribution and marketing (25 points)
* structure of essay (introduction, body and conclusion) (15 points) and
* personal background (10 points).
Each essay will be graded independently on a 100 point scale with points awarded based on each category as listed above. The essay with the highest point score shall be deemed the winner. The second and third highest scores shall be deemed the first and second runners-up.
The names of the judges shall not be released.
7. TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: Every entry must comply with the following requirements:
* Include a cover letter;
* Consist of a formal essay of 500 words or less in English;
* Shall be typed or computer generated, double spaced, or sent by e-mail as a .doc or .pdf attachment;
* Entrant’s name and address shall not appear on the essay, but be included in a cover letter/page. Acknowledgments will be sent by e-mail upon receipt of essay.
8. DEADLINE FOR DETERMINATION OF WINNING ESSAY AND RUNNERS-UP: The winner will be chosen on or before Nov. 30, 2016, along with the First and Second Runners-Up. The winner of the contest will receive the right to enter into a purchase and sale agreement for the name, good will, advertising and circulation lists of the Reveille/Between the Lakes and introductions in the community. There is no real property involved. If the winner refuses in writing to accept this prize, then it shall be awarded to the first runner-up. Likewise, should the first runner-up refuse in writing to accept ownership then it will be awarded to the second runner-up and forward until an individual is found to take possession of the business.
Transfer shall take place within a reasonable time following the end of the contest as mutually determined by Sponsor and Winner. No additional consideration will be required. Winner shall have five business days to accept the transfer agreement upon notification by e-mail, phone, letter or in person. Failure to accept the agreement within the time allotted shall constitute a rejection of the prize.
9. COPYRIGHT AND PUBLICATION: Submitting your essay to the essay contest shall constitute an assignment to the Sponsor of all copyrights arising under both statute and the common law and all other rights derivative there from. By entering the essay contest, entrants grant further permission for sponsors to publish all or part of the submitted essay and to use the entrant’s name and photograph and to publicize the winning entries and the names of all the final 20 essays, all without royalty or other consideration.
10. FEES: The winning entrant shall be solely responsible for any and all fees and costs following transfer. These include, but are not limited to, printing, postage, banking, registrations.
11. DESCRIPTION OF PRIZE PROPERTY: Sponsor will present the winner with a Purchase and Sale Agreement to transfer the following for no further consideration:
* A current customer subscription list;
* A current advertiser list;
* A past advertiser list;
* An archive of past issues;
* Relationships and on-going agreements with printer and supply companies;
* Goodwill and community support.
Here is what is not included:
* Printing facilities (we print off-site through a third party);
* Any guarantees (this is the news business and it changes every day).
12. ADDITIONAL REPRESENTATIONS: Winner agrees to accept the business as is and understands Sponsor makes no guarantees or representations about the business apart from its own experience of owning and operating this community-based newspaper since 1994 and making a living at it. Newspaper work is not easy, particularly in the 21st century, and the Reveille/Between the Lakes is not immune from the problems and stresses, but apart from the money (or lack thereof), it is extremely rewarding and the best job Sponsor has ever had. Winner shall understand he, she or they are taking a community-based business and what follows shall be entirely on his or her shoulders. Following the transfer, the current owner will be happy to provide advice, informal help and answer questions on a reasonable and limited basis. The current owner will also take winner around to members of the community for introductions as current owner sees fit, but following the transfer, this will be Winner’s job and Winner will be responsible for assembling, publishing and distributing the next issue following closing.
13. COVENANT: Winner shall agree to a covenant and condition to continue the operation of The Reveille/Between the Lakes as a newspaper for two years following the transfer of the business.
ENTRANTS AGREE THEIR SOLE INVESTMENT IN THIS CONTEST IS THEIR ENTRY FEE AND SPONSOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY ADDITIONAL ACTIONS TAKEN BEYOND SUBMITTING SAID ENTRY. ENTRANTS AGREE THEIR SOLE DAMAGE IN ANY CLAIM BASED ON THIS CONTEST SHALL BE THEIR ENTRY FEE. ENTRANTS AGREE TO WAIVE ANY CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES RELATED TO THIS CONTEST. ENTRANTS AGREE AN ENTRY HAS NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS AND THIS CONTEST CONTAINS AN ELEMENT OF RISK WITHOUT ANY PROMISE OF REWARD.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Words are incredibly powerful and whilst they may be said in a blink of an eye, the impact they have can last for a lifetime.