The Daily Herald and I go back 16 years to it’s first print edition delivery on my doorstep. I was a new recruit on Eric Schmidt’s Novell public relations team at the time. We’ve had a love/hate relationship since then as the Utah Valley staple rides the roller coaster despised by print newspapers over the past decade. The less than nimble ones are now found in the round file (trashcan) of the news world with the revolutionary transition to online news and social media.
This week’s clever announcement of a pending move to smaller, more “up-to-date” digs that are “more up-to-date infrastructure supporting online media.” I think this is an innovative way of repositioning a downsizing move to “rightsizing” the company. PR savvy companies can go to school on this strategic communication of what could be viewed as a negative. Lost jobs, a dear editor (Randy Wright) gone, a shrinking to 42,000 print readers. However, I see this evolution as very positive. Daily Herald’s massive printing press in its current offices is gone. It combined print forces with newspapers in Salt Lake Valley years ago–smart move. Also, I can’t imagine the older office bristling with technology now available to news organizations that need to appear relevant.
So, is the Daily Herald under Rona Rahlf still relevant? YES! Over 3 Million monthly page views of their online news sight, www.HeraldExtra.com, says they are. The site boasts half a million visitors monthly. Social media and related web properties are on the grow. In a valley of around half a million, this suggests Rona and staff have successfully marketed to a national, if not global news hungry audience with interest in Utah Valley. With strong ties to BYU, it’s easy to see. They are accessing global Cougar faithful, as well as folks interested in the Silicon Slopes, one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial strongholds in the U.S. outside California’s Silicon Valley. As a startup up coach, a UVU entrepreneur adjunct faculty member, a board member of the valley’s dominant entrepreneurial organization, UVEF, I see Rona and the Daily Herald keeping their finger on Utah’s robust business incubator climate.