On Hatteberg’s People, we hear about newspapers folding…we don’t hear about, though, are newspapers starting. It’s happing in Wichita’s College Hill area. Barry and Jessica Owens are the young couple who see opportunity where others see financial disaster.
“One of the favorite parts of my job is throwing the paper. I love when I can get that perfect toss and it lands on the porch and makes that ‘thwump’ sound when it hits the mat.”
The College Hill Commoner is a monthly newspaper that has survived its first year.
“I feel like the key to our success as a newspaper is just to be interesting.”
“So this is something he found out after he started doing that he is very good at.”
Barry Owens is the Editor, his wife Jessica the publisher. They are the only employees.
“We’ve tried to make ourselves the authority on College Hill and write quirky little interesting stories that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Barry writes most of the stories --Takes most of the pictures --Delivers much of the paper.
“Being that we also work from home, it’s very difficult to separate your work and your home life because it is all intertwined.”
His wife is the financial brains of the duo. She is also the mom to their two children – and until three-year old Augie takes his afternoon nap – not much ‘paper’ work gets done.
“I think as long as we continue to be interesting and we continue to focus very tightly on our local market, I can’t go outside College Hill, people won’t put up with that. They don’t want to read those stories. They want read about themselves…people want to read about themselves.”
They live and work out of their College Hill home.
“I like putting it together, I like making something out of nothing. I made this thing, and it will last.”
“Did you see your story in there?”
“Wow, this is really cool. Thank you!”
“You are welcome.”
“I want people to pick up the College Hill Commoner, read it at their leisure when they have the time. Lay it out on their coffee table if they want and fold it up under their arm and take it to the coffee shop.
While other papers are moving to the Internet…The College Hill Commoner is there too…but Barry likes the touch, smell and feel of real newsprint.
“I don’t know that all journalists get excited about being a link on a web site.”
In an editorial in his latest edition he writes:
“Newspapers were never made to be clicked on, linked to, or covered up with pop-up ads from a local car dealer.”
“The College Hill Commoner makes no sounds, it won’t crash, it requires no system upgrades to view.”
“Just because some newspapers may fold and some newspapers may be going away, doesn’t mean that people don’t still want newspapers.”
His stories reflect real research, good writing, fascinating tidbits of College Hill information, and people notice. Unlike big city newspapers, The Commoner is in the black.
“I feel if we do the newspaper right, we will survive no matter what happens around us.”
Larry's Note: To contact the College Hill Commoner or Barry and Jessica here is the information:
Email: editor@collegehill commoner.com