In a time when people use the internet to buy groceries, communicate with work and get on-the-go breaking news information, the owner of Middle Tennessee’s Main Street Media said his company is growing in readership, providing a product that communities want – a physical newspaper to hold and read.
Dave Gould, owner of Montgomery County’s weekly newspaper publication Main Street Clarksville, spoke to the Clarksville Rotary Club on Nov. 18. Gould gave an overview of he and his wife, Ellen’s company, Main Street Media.
Since the company was established in 2013, Gould said Main Street Media has grown its readership in and around Nashville and most recently in both Montgomery County and Fort Campbell, picking up readers after the launch of newspapers at both locations in August and September 2019.
Main Street Clarksville and the Fort Campbell Courier are part of 12 community newspapers owned by the Goulds in 10 Middle Tennessee areas, which also cover Dickson County, Fairview, Murfreesboro, Portland, Hendersonville, Nashville, Gallatin, Wilson County, Robertson County and Cheatham County.
In addition, the company offers magazines, websites, e-newsletters, podcasts and a live video network across Middle Tennessee.
The community newspapers have brought in about 36,000 subscribers combined, according to Gould.
“Every week, we print about 60,000 newspapers that include the rack copies that are available,” Gould said.
Main Street Media’s growth is attributed to the amount of local news offered in each community, he said.
“We don’t deal in national news, world news, political news or celebrity gossip,” Gould said. “We let other people deal with stuff like that. We focus on things within our community that impact people’s everyday lives.”
Gould said issues are covered such as whether the city council is going to raise taxes; when are they going to fix the traffic problems; and, who scored the goals in last week’s soccer game.
There are three components to a local newspaper’s content, according to Gould, that appears to genuinely resonate with readers. It’s community news, local sports and good journalism.
“It’s really at the core of what we do,” Gould said. “It’s humbling and inspiring for us to realize the work that we do is constitutionally protected. We are able to publish without governmental interference.”
All of that comes with a great responsibility to be fair and to be accurate, he said.
“That doesn’t mean people are always going to like what we publish, but we’ll always do it with an eye towards fairness an accuracy,” Gould said.
After winning a bid last year to publish the Fort Campbell Courier, Main Street Media began distributing the paper that was published prior for 63 years.
“A week before we began publishing the Courier, we launched Main Street Clarksville,” Gould said. “The feedback we’ve had so far has been enjoyable.”
Main Street Clarksville has grown to about 4,000 subscribers, according go Gould.
It’s the providing of local news, keeping a record of history and maintaining a vital part of democracy by providing journalists who keep an eye on what’s going on in our communities.
“It’s important to us that we keep an eye on elected officials and our leaders to make sure they’re doing the people’s business,” Gould said. “It is our responsibility, and we’re constitutionally protected to do that.”