To some it will seem strange that this week we publish an ode to a competitor, but on its 90th birthday The Capital Times is truly an anomaly in the newspaper industry, and its enduring presence harbors interesting questions about that industry. The worry these days is about the threat that the Internet poses to daily newspapers; although they lead in developing news sites on the web, their returns in these enterprises are scant compared to their print versions, and their online activities can, at this point, in no way support a vigorous news operation.
But the Cap Times has been a deficit operation for years, decades even, and still it sails merrily along - a newspaper in perpetuity. How it does this is explained, at least in part, by author Jason Shepard, a former Cap Times staffer and current grad student and Isthmus contributor, in his story "Still Kickin'." As it is, the Capital Times Company will endure indefinitely, as long as it maintains corporate equity with its partner Lee Enterprises - a balance of power assured by a convoluted corporate structure. On the other hand, the ways of corporate infighting can be devious.
But enough of advertisements for the competition - we have an information enterprise going on here at Isthmus, as you may have noticed. And this week we achieved what, internally, we consider a momentous accomplishment. We have re-engineered our website classified section, featuring an ad submission tool finally worthy of the appellation "online." Now you can submit a classified ad at any hour of the day without coming calling into the office. There are bells and whistles available, not to mention horns and tympani, and you can pay by credit card right there on the spot.
We knew that our old online form was atrocious, and we knew that more and more people appreciated the convenience of the interactive web and had acquired the skill to engage it. That propelled our decision to contract with a company called AdQ to modernize our classified presence at TheDailyPage.com. As is common with software enterprises, there is plenty a slip twixt decision and done. What we planned to debut on July 1 became reality this week.
If you are daunted by web applications, or you just like the human interaction, you can still submit ads the time-tested way by coming into the office, or calling 608-251-8536, or by email. All the relevant information, including deadlines, is in the paper and online.
But we're excited to be taking the Isthmus community into a brave new world of classifieds. And if you want to connect with that community, from the letter writers to the Forons and all those in between, Isthmus classifieds are the only way to do it.