Scripps Ranch newspaper enters its sixth year
By John Gregory
The first year seemed like five years.
Now, it really has been five years since the first print version of Scripps Ranch News was published (December 2017). The fifth year of any new business is an early benchmark. Therefore, on behalf of my talented wife and business partner Jacqueline Gregory (art director), I am offering some insight into this community newspaper.
Following longtime careers in media, we decided to start our own family business. So, we launched a boutique startup in 2017 named Seacoast Media Lab, LLC, with the intention of providing businesses with affordable custom digital media services.
One of the first projects was the creation of a community website (ScrippsRanchNews.com) as a showcase of what we could provide to businesses. We also considered this a gift to the community since we were posting original stories about Scripps Ranch on a daily basis. ScrippsRanchNews.com was essentially an online newspaper, but we had no intention of starting a print paper. Quite the opposite.
Six months after starting the company, we created a print advertising piece promoting our digital services, and distributed it by direct mail. It was in the form of a small newspaper to gain attention.
Surprisingly, members of the community were actually taking photos of the print mailer and posting it on their social media pages, proclaiming that Scripps Ranch had a new newspaper. No one takes a picture of a newspaper and posts it on social media. But sure enough, it was happening. This astounding reaction could not be ignored.
So, the print version of Scripps Ranch News was born. It is published on a monthly basis and distributed to all homes in the community by direct mail.
As the local media outlet, we feel Scripps Ranch News has done a world of good by publicizing worthy charitable events, providing emergency information in times of crisis and telling the stories of some incredible people who would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Publishing a newspaper is a lost art; and the printing process is a lost science. While our family business helps clients on projects beyond print, the newspaper takes up most of our time. We provided critical information to readers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when businesses shut down in 2020. We overcame setbacks: two of our main computers crashed, taking all of our vital data with them; our printer moved and we had to locate another; U.S. Postal Service increased its rates this week, causing a sizeable increase in our costs. Still, publishing your message in Scripps Ranch News remains the most effective and affordable way to utilize direct mail.
Publish an event in the paper
Educating local organizations about how to utilize the newspaper has been challenging. We don’t charge for community announcements about upcoming events or accomplishments, as long as the item is not for profit.
Simply email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will follow up. Send at least three weeks before publication date.
You don’t have to write the story yourself. Email or phone in your story idea at least one month before the month in which you wish the story to appear. Provide the basic details and contact information for sources. If the story is approved, we will assign a reporter to contact you.
Updated news values
We understand that Scripps Ranch News is not the New York Times. We are not the community watchdog, and we don’t have all the answers. We also realize that our job is not to bore people to death. We do what we can to assure this paper remains a popular media vehicle that offers a fresh, energetic reflection of the community. We think reading your local newspaper should be a joy, not a chore. This results in readers looking forward to receiving Scripps Ranch News in the mail. Furthermore, we don’t intend to be a “good news” newspaper. However, this community produces a lot of positive stories. If you dig deep enough, you’ll discover that this sleepy little suburb has interesting residents, each with a fascinating story. There’s nothing wrong with showing readers their heroes.
More to come
There are more stories to be told, and we are planning innovative ways to present the news in the future.
We have resided in Scripps Ranch since 2003, have children attending Scripps Ranch High School – and are proud to live among the residents here. We have made connections with wonderful people through our work on the paper. Similarly, we hope Scripps Ranch News acts as a conduit for our readers to connect.
Finally, we thank all our fans and friends who have been so supportive of our newspaper. We thank all of our dedicated reporters and photographers. We thank all our advertisers and readers. We often hear about newspapers closing, and never hear about a newspaper launching and succeeding in these times. But it’s happening and all of you have been part of this success.