Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Extra, Extra, Read All about It! Local Publisher Enthralls Fans by Producing Extra Edition for High School Football Victory

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Extra, Extra, Read All about It! Local Publisher Enthralls Fans by Producing Extra Edition for High School Football Victory

Article excerpt

TEN SECONDS BEFORE THE SANTA Rosa High School Mighty Lions of New Mexico came from behind to clinch their high school football championship game, the publisher of The Guadalupe County Communicator grabbed the marching band's trumpet player and handed him a newspaper. The headline was shocking: "Kings of the Jungle--Lions Win!" "His eyes bulged out,' said Communicator publisher and reporter M.E. Sprengelmeyer, who encouraged the musician to sell the extra edition as a band boosters' fundraiser. The four-page section was snapped up in 30 minutes, and the newspaper and its one advertiser, Community First Bank, snapped up a huge chunk of goodwill.

"We blew the town away," said Sprengelmeyer, who sold nearly 2,000 papers that afternoon at the away game, while his page designer sold the rest back home on the Santa Rosa streets. "That's what I'm trying to do is get the town all jazzed up about the printed paper."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

And he's done just that. Ever since losing his job as a Washington, D.C. correspondent for Denver's Rocky Mountain News two years ago, Sprengelmeyer has been trying to save print journalism. He used his savings to buy The Communicator, a 2,100-circulation paper in a 2,700-person town. A town on Route 66 once used for the freight train scene over the Pecos River railroad bridge in the movie "The Grapes of Wrath." A town so small, Sprengelmeyer walks to most of his interviews.

But he's been successful with his 16-page weekly, increasing revenue some 75 percent over the previous year by staying local and relevant. He continued a popular feature started by his predecessor, printing a letter to Santa from every child in the county. And he's so involved in the local school, he bought students an underwater robot.

Sprengelmeyer, who drives 99 miles weekly on a press run, said if he's not back with the papers by 2 p. …

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