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Bill Patterson: Your newspaper is becoming truly local

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Bill Patterson, CEO, Publisher, Denton Record-Chronicle

A new era is dawning at the Denton Record-Chronicle. You may have heard about it.

Bill Patterson
Bill Patterson

I've served as publisher and CEO of the Denton Record-Chronicle for many years. And now I'm buying the newspaper and DentonRC.com from the A.H. Belo Corporation. My family had owned the newspaper company for more than 50 years before selling it to Belo Corp. in 1999.

A.H. Belo and its flagship property, The Dallas Morning News, have been great business partners for 18 years, but now we are headed back to the future. The Record-Chronicle and DentonRC.com now become a truly local media company that controls its own destiny and whose only goal is to serve Denton and the surrounding area.

Denton Mayor Chris Watts may have said it best in our news story last week announcing the buyback deal between Belo and me.

"Whenever we can have homegrown institutions in the city of Denton locally owned, I think it's always a good thing," he said.

Thanks to Mayor Watts for his kind words. His reaction is similar to most of the talk I've heard since the deal was made public. Denton wants an independent, locally owned media company that truly cares about what happens in Denton.

My family's track record in local civic and business affairs goes back to the 1940s when Riley Cross, my grandfather, bought the Denton Record-Chronicle and established its offices a couple of blocks off the Square on East Hickory Street. My decision to buy back the family enterprise demonstrates that continuing commitment to Denton.

Too many newspapers today are run by publishers who make a career stop for a couple of years and then move on to the next job. But that's not the way it is in Denton. I've lived in Denton all my life, raised a family and made a living here. For better or worse, I'm embedded in the community.

It's no secret that the newspaper industry faces great challenges in the digital era. More and more people are seeking news and information from their smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. At the same time, the printed newspaper and revenue it produces from subscriptions and advertising is critical to Record-Chronicle operations going forward.

The challenge for my team is to create new ways to produce revenue from the newspaper and DentonRC.com and come up with new products that attract advertisers and news consumers.

Almost daily we see announcements of traditional media companies selling their newspaper properties. Atlanta-based Cox Media Group recently announced that it is selling the Austin American-Statesman. My investment in the Record-Chronicle and its website goes against the grain. It's a risk and a gamble. Building the company will be tough unless enough people demonstrate support for a local media company. I want the Record-Chronicle to be a campfire around which we all gather to discuss community news and issues.

My goal is to listen to you. Tell me about content you like, dislike or want to see more of or less of. Send your thoughts to me at billsfeedback@dentonrc.com and you will get a personal response from me.

If you are a subscriber, thank you. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to subscribe. They can go online to DentonRC.com/promo and use the code DRCLOCAL (all capital letters). Or they can email customercare@dentonrc.com or call our circulation department at 940-566-6836.

Finally, I want to show the media industry and the country the unique and special character of Denton and northern Denton County. We live, play and do business in a thriving group of cities and towns. We want our newspaper and media company to help lead the way.

Thanks again, Denton. I'm glad to be back.

BILL PATTERSON is CEO and publisher of the Denton Record-Chronicle.