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The Press is Going Monthly. Here’s Why.

December 6th, 2012 in Journalism by

Ten years ago, in January of 2003, we published the first issue of the weekly Long Island Press after several months of experimenting with a bi-weekly music publication called the Island Ear. Transforming the Ear into an alternative newsweekly, something every major market except LI had, made sense on several levels. I’m offering this bit of history to answer a question I hear frequently: Why on earth would you willingly go into the newspaper business?

It’s a good question. These are the 2000s, after all.

At the time, our company owned and operated 92.7 WDRE/WLIR-FM, the heritage alternative rock station in New York, and the first of its kind in the nation. Complementing WLIR with an altweekly, particularly a strong, independent-minded paper that the Island sorely needed, made strategic sense. Moreover, we were running a music and event venue called the Vanderbilt in Plainview and a newspaper came in handy when promoting acts outside the format of the radio station.

These were hectic and exciting days. We were not without our foibles and gaffes (biker brawl, anyone?), but we had a lot of fun and, for a while, everything worked. Gradually, however, pieces of the company and people began to break away. The radio station was sold to Univision and the Vanderbilt was sold to Nassau OTB. Then my business partner and I went our separate ways; he stayed in radio, and I ran a restaurant inside our former facility and took the helm of the newspaper.

There are many more details, some sordid and bitter, some joyous and downright funny. But along with countless memories, they have washed away under the bridge. Throughout it all, without even realizing it, I was falling madly in love with the newspaper business. I was smitten with the Long Island Press. The staff, the words, everything. I fell in love with the work and remain hopelessly committed to it today. (Being a lousy restaurateur helped solidify my path.) To say that our industry has changed would be a gross understatement. Despite the public’s increased appetite for news and information, the splintering of interests and fragmentation of channels have presented a challenge to traditional media outlets. General interest publications such as news magazines and daily newspapers have suffered terribly during the digital revolution; alternative weeklies have declined in revenue and circulation during this period as well, though not nearly to the same extent. But it was enough to make me begin pondering a different relationship with my muse.

To be in love with your work is a gift, one that none of us takes for granted. And despite the Chicken Little prognostications for our industry, we had a good year, which has allowed me to make this decision from a position of strength instead of with my back to the wall. If anything, once we stopped resisting changes brought about by the Internet, it became a blessing instead of a curse; the growth of our digital platforms gave us the ability to disseminate information as quickly and accurately as Newsday. This eye-opening process has freed our minds from the mental constraints of the physical publishing world. Ultimately it has given us permission to ask ourselves what we want to write instead of racing to meet artificial deadlines with material we are forced to write.

On a business note, the two primary consequences of reducing the frequency of the Press is producing a bigger book and increasing its circulation. Essentially, going monthly means we are able to add news and features that satiate our artistic and journalistic desires, while staying true to our role in the marketplace.

What is our role, you may ask?

Our stated mission is to inform, entertain and educate the opinion leaders of Long Island. Our practical purpose is to make Newsday suck less. (Delicacy is not my specialty. Sorry.) Professionally, we establish a bridge between intelligent and discerning readers and the advertising community. We are essentially a vehicle for commerce and social engagement and the purveyors of truth on the Island. As the conscience of the local media and the only outlet courageous enough to challenge conventional wisdom, we take our responsibility very seriously.

The decision to transition from weekly to monthly didn’t happen in a vacuum. The success of our sister publication, Milieu magazine, and the growth of our small business program, the Bethpage Best of LI contest and App, have enabled us to grow as an organization. As we look forward to 2013, we see a jam-packed production schedule that includes 10 glossy issues of Milieu, several specialty publications, and a new project you will see on newsstands beginning this month. Our company is the custom engine behind Living Out, a new GLBT publication on LI, published by David Kilmnick and the staff of Long Island GLBT Services Network.

Since the days of WLIR and WDRE, breaking new ground is in our DNA. It’s who we are, so it’s what we do. So while it may look as though the Press is downshifting, in reality we are moving forward full throttle. It’s as though we have suffered from a multiple personality disorder all these years and are finally setting our personalities free. The Press as our professor in a corduroy jacket and leather elbow patches, Milieu as our stylish and confident feminine persona, Bethpage Best of LI as our inner entrepreneur and Living Out as our free-spirited, gay side. (Still working on a title for the foul-mouthed, neurotic Mets/Jets/Isles fan publication.) It’s been an honor to publish the Press for the past decade. Hopefully you’ll be as excited as we are about our next 10 years as a monthly. After that, we will probably just download directly into a chip surgically implanted in your skull.

Author: Jed Morey

Jed Morey is the publisher of the Long Island Press, LI's Cultural Arts and Investigative News Journal. The Press has a monthly circulation of 100,000, and www.longislandpress.com, welcomes more than 500,000 unique visitors every month. He serves on the board of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Nassau County, as well as the President's Council of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Long Island. In addition to the contributions on this blog, Morey authors a column for the Long Island Press titled "Off The Reservation" and is a staunch advocate for Indian rights. The column was voted Best Column in New York by the NY Press Association in 2010 and third overall in the nation among alternative publications by the Association of Alternative Weeklies in 2012. Morey lives in Glen Cove with his wife, Eden White, and their two daughters.

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15 Comments

Doris Meadows

December 6th, 2012

Greatly looking forward to the next chapter in the evolution of LI Press — and Jed Morey!

JIM PERRONE

December 6th, 2012

Now ,if you could just bring back WLIR Radio, I’d be really HAPPY!!!!

Hongo

December 6th, 2012

That’s a fancy tale, but you leave a vacuum by going monthly.

sue

December 6th, 2012

I love reading your newspaper. Been a fan since the beginning. Your paper is well written and is so much better than Newsday.

Good luck with the monthly edition. Im going to miss my weekly crossword puzzle in your newspaper.

Dorian Dale

December 6th, 2012

Pretty radical, dude.

But one gets the impression that you’re glossing it over and we’re not getting the full story. Ain’t that job #1 for a journalist?

Frank Pomata

December 7th, 2012

I’m going to agree with Jim Perrone above about WLIR — sorely missed ! otherwise, well said, Jed. Good luck with the monthly.

Rev. Allan B. Ramirez

December 7th, 2012

Jed, Since the days you sat in my class, you were creative, never afraid, and knew there were no sacred cows anywhere. I am not surprised about the change…it’s the only way to grow! And I am certainly not surprise that you are leading this change. Go right on and continue to impress your audience.

William Hennigan

December 9th, 2012

Sounds like you are just like every other print publication in amercia, you are losing money and can’t support the business. Why all the hype? Why all the bull? Just shut it down like every other news print! What a bunch of crap.

Michael Cafaro

December 9th, 2012

Good luck with the new format. The weekly issue will be missed, but it should be interesting to see how the refurbished monthly edition turns out. I hope it will have more than one major article per month.

Sophia

December 11th, 2012

When?

Personally, I think you’re going in the wrong direction, shrinking isn’t growing. If the money isn’t there to keep up the weekly, why not join forces with the other weekly chains (Anton, Richner) and compete against Newsday as a daily?

Also, I am currently a freelance journalist (former editor) and would like to know:

1) Do you/Will you pay for pitched articles?
2) To whom and by when should pitches be sent for insertion in a monthly issue? I have a holiday charity story and to make an immediate difference, I’d need to write it up and have it published no later than next week’s issue (assuming you haven’t already gone monthly).

Thank you.

Lisa Chipetine

December 29th, 2012

Dear Mr. Morey:
“Our stated mission is to inform, entertain and educate the opinion leaders of Long Island”. I find this an interesting and inaccurate statement. A reporter recently came into my husband’s tool rental business under the guise of interviewing him about Sandy. Once in his office, he was presented with the statement/accusation that there was price gouging going on on the island. My husband promptly gave your reporter his contracts and price list and after an hour of leaving this reporter to review the materials…the reporter indicated that he could find “NOTHING”! My husband asked if your paper intended to report that – and was told it was not an something his editor would consider. My husband wrote a letter to your editor, which was subsequently ignored. So IMHO your paper is NOT educators of the truth…the truth that a man has run a business honorably for over 20 years.

The Long Island Press has made its bones on the backs of small businesses and this is how you your customer base?

As a gentlemen, businessman and husband – you should make this right, Mr. Morey. Live up to your mission.

Delicacy is not my specialty, either. Sorry.
Loving wife and Long Island businesswoman
Lisa M. Chipetine, PMP
(516) 857-3228

long island rubbish

December 29th, 2012

good luck jed weekly will be missed .your paper blew newsday away. hope it works out for you. your paper told the truth …

Chrissy Schimmel in South Florida

January 6th, 2013

Hi! I hope its been going well now that Long Island Press is published monthly. Long Island Press has always been an entertaining read for me and Jed Morey is WAY COOL!

Larry Steinmac

November 21st, 2013

“Since the days of WLIR and WDRE, breaking new ground is in our DNA” Wow! If your father had not claimed to have been of a certain group, 92.7 would have been assigned to a real broadcaster who would have created someting original. TMO rode the coat tails created by radio legends. You stole the format just like you bought The Island Ear and used The Long Island Press name which was a legitimate daily newspaper in its day. Come up with something original and earn a living on your own for once. Keep dreaming.

Jed Morey

November 21st, 2013

Hey, Thanks Larry! All the best to you and yours.

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