Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: The Corry Journal

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: The Corry Journal

The Corry Journal reaffirms its position with readers for hope and normalcy in local news

When Bob Williams, publisher of The Corry Journal, sliced his staff almost 70% shortly after the social distancing and shut down orders in Pennsylvania, he was sure of one thing: “I am determined to bring back my entire staff.”

Williams pours this same determination into the publication’s coverage of the region. He, his managing editor and one remaining reporter are working tirelessly not only to continue providing the hyper-local news coverage readers expect from the publication, but also to share the resources and reassurance local citizens and business owners need. Williams has crafted feature stories that assist local business owners in navigating the CARES Act and utilizing the services and funds available to keep them afloat. “We have to let them know there’s help out there, so don’t give up,” said Williams. “If we give up, we’re not going to have a paper, and we’re not going to have downtown.”

Williams’ determination is not without an understanding of the current tumultuous advertising sales environment. His newspaper has seen a drop in advertising over 50%, and Williams noted the need to get more creative with advertising options as well as adapt the outreach approach to advertisers.

Williams has adopted and modified an ad campaign for local businesses to salute local health care workers at the low cost of $125 per ad, with two featured ads per day. With two local hospitals nearby, this advertising option supports an industry that is crucial to the community and the COVID-19 crisis. The scope of this ad campaign allows small local businesses to remain visible while supporting a courageous group of individuals in the community. In speaking about the importance of consistent visibility in the market, Williams compares the current environment to that of the Great Depression. “Before it, there was Pears soap and Ivory. Throughout the Great Depression, Ivory advertised. Has anybody heard of ‘Pears soap’ now?” Williams said.

Another key element Williams supports during the crisis is normalcy in editorial pieces. “We covered a story about a local boy – he lives down the street from me – and it was his 8th birthday earlier this week,” said Williams. “People celebrated with him by dropping off, and sometimes literally tossing out, gifts to him (at his house).”  Williams believes the coverage of the normal activities and life events taking place in the community is critical to the news The Journal brings to its readers. With this in mind, Williams and his team are committed to bringing the same local senior high school athlete feature this spring. He is a long-time softball coach and finds great meaning in the hard work and devotion many of the young athletes have put into their training, and does not want to see those efforts go unrewarded. “I have been working with a young player who really did not have nearly the talent of some of her peers in the beginning – years ago,” said Williams. “She has been absolutely steadfast in her training, and it pains me to know that she might not have her final season to see all of that work pay off.”

Williams noted that annual subscription sales are steady, even with The Journal’s temporary move to printing only three days a week, and the publication has also seen a substantial increase in online subscriptions. Williams fully believes that through inventive advertising initiatives and continued strength in editorial coverage, these trends will continue during and after the COVID-19 crisis. “I tell my team – we were at 4th and 1, and now it’s 4th and 5 – we have to score a touchdown in order to save our publication – it’s time for the ‘Hail Mary,’” said Williams.

For additional information, contact Bob Williams at (814) 665-8291 x. 38 or