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Headline memory lane evokes redundancy, progress

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In preparation for our 30th anniversary issue published last week, the Springfield Business Journal editorial team thumbed through historic issues dating back to the early 1980s. Our journey dug up some recurring themes as well as some that spoke to significant progress.

Here’s a smattering of SBJ headlines from the mid-1980s that speak to the history of Springfield-area business, trends and, to some extent, our civilization. I hope you enjoy the journey back in time. Maybe the look back will give you a fresh perspective of issues in your industry.

Some things never change
1984
“Profit not central in Gillioz restoration”
“Economy as unpredictable as the weather”
“Hammons withdraws office project”
“Downtown office building changes hands”
“Colleges’ economic impact tops $350 million”
“Conservative energy practices reduce bills”
“Oriental persistence produces cashew chicken fans”
“Energy costs lead worries, poll indicates”
“Facelift continues downtown in Park Central”
“Plans for downtown office condo move forward”
1985
“Downtown: Mixing the old with the new”
“New highway funds dwindling; Springfield could close crossroads status”
“Litton cutbacks reflect nationwide industry malaise”
“Boatmen’s to merge with General Bancshares Corporation”
“No end in sight for Missoure-Missoura controversy”
“SBA, local trends show growing number of women-owned businesses”
1986
“VCR owners eventually return to theaters”
“Boatmen’s, CharterCorp join forces”
“Business gets bullish on wellness”

Signs of change
1984
“State tourism budget restored”
“Commercial construction back from recession”
“Springfield faces office shortage”
“Electronic mail speeds message at church headquarters”
“Car sales reflect better times”
“Loan demands boost area banks”
“P.G. Walker first to build in city’s enterprise zone”
“KGBX converts to AM stereo”
1985
“Commerce Bank introduces debit/credit card”
“City, state unemployment rates dip”
“Chicago firm reportedly eyeing Bass Pro”
“Bank growth stable at quarter’s end”
“Firefall ’85 promises to be another ‘boomer’”
“Residential, commercial real estate booming after slack years”
“Area farm values plunge; investors find rural bargains”
“Realtors rebound from real estate crash”
“Heer’s signs lease to 1991; execs optimistic about downtown”
“Electronic office poses special design problems”
“Mortgage lenders report booming business”
“Chamber prepares proposal to obtain Toyota plant”
“Airport board looks at renovation plans”

Blog bit
Last week on my blog, a Wall Street Journal interview struck a chord – to pay or not to pay? At SBJ, we’ve developed a model to begin charging for content at sbj.net.

Here are excerpts from www.thefineprintsbj.wordpress.com:
The Chicago-based Tribune Co.’s turnaround specialist CEO doesn’t think daily newspapers can charge for Web content. I agree.

Randy Michaels – head of the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune – does think niche publications can create successful pay models online. He’s two-for-two with me.

“I just don’t believe the economics of a paywall are going to work, unless your content is unique, highly differentiated, difficult to duplicate,” Michaels told the Wall Street Journal in a Q&A published July 26. “As good as I believe our content is, if there are reasonable substitutes available for free, it’s tough to get people to pay.”

That speaks directly to Springfield Business Journal.

I routed the article to our editorial team in order to emphasize this point: If we don’t continually produce unique content, we can’t successfully employ a unique pay model on sbj.net. It’s that simple.
And that’s exactly where we are; our pay model goes up Sept. 1.

I trust you’ve noticed the “Exclusive Access” advertisements running in recent issues of SBJ.

We’ve structured it with a generous front yard before hitting our paywall and with a variety of options – print, digital or online editions – for one price, $69 a year, the same as our current print subscription. A VIP option for $79 gives greater access and additional copies for multiple users in the same office.

If we have any doubts about the success of this model, it’s time to put those away. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Catherine Specter is here to help. She issues this call to charge online:
“Putting out a daily newspaper requires a mountain of work from a skilled ensemble cast of khaki-clad, coffee-driven, truth-obsessed people who could make more money in other professions,” she wrote on The Huffington Post. “They work hard every day, just like you, and they deserve their just rewards – for readers to pay a nominal fee for their efforts. Anyone who disagrees should give up their salary right now.”

Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson can be reached at eolson@sbj.net.[[In-content Ad]]

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