George Hancock

Day one arrived early on a Wednesday morning. Year 2020 is here.

Every year at this time we face a fresh clean page. We examine our new calendars.

Runners examine their new training diaries. The running log book is new. The blank pages lack any details. We are free to pursue our stories.

The late-December warmer weather had many scratching their heads. This runner appreciates warm winter temperatures and dry roads. A late-December run dressed in shorts is a bonus.

I never dream of a white Christmas. Visible green lawns are OK with me.

We begin our 2020 journey on an optimistic note.

Our 2019 miscues are behind us. Our new journey is at the starting line. Our direction and goals are on track.

Gazing down the road, we see no hurdles blocking our path.

We launch 2020 at a slow trot. Our pace is steady.

The weather is typical for early January. The morning is quiet. Everything feels fine, so we increase the pace. Soon, the days pass and we barely remember those holidays.

• • •

Mid-January finds many wondering what to do or where to go. Well, trek out to The Galleria for the 14th annual Beginnings Inc. used book sale.

I’ve attended every sale, finding many great reading treasures. The cold winter months are perfect for reading. Readers can discover new writers or find unread books from favorite authors. Also, book collectors frequently find rare gems in this large book sale.

The book sale is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Jan. 17; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 18 and noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 19.

• • •

This year marks my 12th year as a Tribune-Democrat columnist. My column highlights my roadside views. The thoughts and words from the roadside are occasionally disturbing, yet also unique.

We live in a scenic region with change coloring our perspectives. Is that glass half full or half empty?

Hmm, it’s a matter of perspective.

My writing career dates back to 1986 with the monthly Runner’s Gazette newspaper. The Runner’s Gazette was first published in September 1976. Sure, the RG is a niche publication aimed at runners.

Yet, this publication thrived in the Middle Atlantic states.

Circulation, ad revenue and writing content were strong for decades. Then, the digital age sacked numerous newspaper standards. Our publishing world changed.

The recent years were not kind to niche newspapers and magazines such as Runner’s Gazette and Runner’s World magazine. Ad revenue disappeared and subscriptions plummeted, creating angst in these publications.

Runner’s World went from a 12-issue-per-year publication to six issues. The Runner’s Gazette converted to a total digital format. This move irked some veteran running contributors.

However, the digital move proved fruitful for this niche running publication. And, the digital format attracted the younger running crowd.

• • •

Early in 2019, I was selected along with Dianne Frye DeLisa, James Edwards Sr., David A. Knepper, Ed Makuchan, Debra Orner, Joseph Stains, Ted Nichols and Roxanne Tuinstra and Sophia Tuinstra to serve on The Tribune-Democrat’s Reader Advisory Committee. Nichols recently moved away from our region.

We meet with Editor Chip Minemyer. Our meetings are very productive. Each committee member brings a perspective, viewpoint and collected outside information to these meetings.

We discuss the current newspaper trends. Individuals from various Tribune-Democrat divisions discuss their work. Plus, published news stories and potential news articles are discussed.

These meetings are informative and intriguing. The Tribune-Democrat is doing its best to appeal to this new digital audience while printing a hard copy for veteran newspaper readers.

The recent Dec. 29 Tribune-Democrat editorial “Redirecting ourselves to the mission of news” outlines the current game plan. The editorial details what is being done to get news to local readers.

The newspaper subscription cost is a frequent discussion topic. The Tribune personnel are keenly aware local readers cannot continually absorb increased circulation rates.

Outside factors such as increased paper and ink costs are hurting publishers.

We begin year 2020 on a hopeful note. Issues are not so perplexing while working together.

Happy New Year!

George A. Hancock of Scalp Level Borough is an occasional contributor to the editorial page.

Recommended for you