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Print is Alive and Well in the Inland Empire

Aaron Kushner, who purchased The Press-Enterprise in November as co-owner and CEO of Freedom Communications, explained the value of local newspapers and their vital role in connecting and strengthening the community at a luncheon hosted by the Inland Empire chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-IE) March 19 at the San Bernardino Hilton.

Kushner gave examples of how The Press-Enterprise is carrying out its community-building mission and subscriber-focused strategy to the 120 PR, marketing, advertising and communication professionals in attendance. He said the newspaper is supplementing its local news by telling more positive stories about the people, places and activities that make Riverside and San Bernardino County so vibrant, and reiterated why this is important when he asked the crowd “how many of us like being depressed?”

Freedom Communications is investing in and expanding the print edition when most in the newspaper industry, as Kushner put it, ”have given up on print,” and focusing exclusively on digital media. “Digital represents 10 percent of revenue at most papers,” he said.

Kushner said digital advertising can be useful at the “bottom of the purchasing funnel” when people know exactly what they want and are shopping based on price. Print, he said, “isn’t sexy” but it is still effective at reaching people who seek out and spend time reading a newspaper or magazine to discover products that will enrich their lives. “Print is wonderful on the local level for brand building and discovery,” Kushner said. 

According to Kushner, “Digital has value, but it’s not a replacement for print, it’s an add-on.”

Kushner and Press-Enterprise editor Michael Coronado, who was also in attendance, introduced a new edition of the paper that included added depth of local news, a new Inland SoCal Register section, and subscriber benefits through new programs like Register Connect that make it easier for local businesses and non-profits to engage with the paper’s subscribers.

“Our ability to invest in more talent and resources in the Inland Empire will be directly proportional to the area’s subscribers,” says Kushner.

Freedom Communications is now looking to expand into the Los Angeles market on April 16 with the launch of the Los Angeles Register, a new daily newspaper serving 80-plus cities within Los Angeles.

“I think many of our members are fascinated with Mr. Kushner as his team appears to be doubling down in print while many are headed for the digital hills,” said Aaron Norris, President of PRSA Inland Empire. “We recognize the importance of a strong local media market and print plays a key role. It was important for our members to understand the strategy and what role we will play in their model moving forward.”

The event was graciously sponsored by Stater Bros. To subscribe to The Press-Enterprise, click here

PRSA Inland Empire’s next luncheon features YouTube singing sensation, AJ Rafael, who will share a behind-the-scenes look at the business of YouTube, lessons in collaboration, and insights into building a strong personal brand.

For more information on memberships, sponsorship opportunities, and upcoming workshops and luncheons, click here

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AJ Rafael joins PRSA-IE for April 16th Luncheon

What does it take to attract over 500,000 YouTube suscribers and over 10 million video views? Join us on April 16th as local YouTube musician, AJ Rafael, shares with us a behind-the-scenes look at the business of YouTube, lessons on collaboration, and important insights into personal branding. Register today.

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