Future of monthly Oakhurst newsletter uncertain

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 4, 2013
This editor's note appears in the November edition of the Oakhurst Leaflet.

This editor’s note appears in the November edition of the Oakhurst Leaflet.

The 2,500 homes that receive the Oakhurst Leaflet won’t be getting one this month.

If a potential deal to save the monthly newsletter falls through, they may never get one again.

I first learned of the Leaflet’s predicament a few weeks ago. Gary Garrett, husband of Commissioner Patti Garrett, approached me and handed me a copy of a recent issue. He said that the Leaflet, currently produced by the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association, would be ending its publication this month.

The November issue contains a letter to that effect. Garrett, who serves as volunteer content editor, said the Leaflet is delivered to homes in Oakhurst and the rest of the city’s southwest district. He said it’s been a reliable source of news for many of Oakhurst’s older residents and began publication in the early 2000s, though he wasn’t sure which year. (He guessed 2003.)

ONA President Michael Vajda said the Leaflet wasn’t making enough money to sustain itself because people increasingly rely on the internet to get their news. He also said the Leaflet competes with other free newsletters, like the monthly Decatur Focus published by the city.

“It has been kind of a labor of love for a lot of folks. For awhile it wasn’t revenue positive,” he said. “We were losing money on it.”

But a former ONA president thinks she can keep the Leaflet going.

Anne Clarke, who is currently editor of the Leaflet, is in talks to take over production from the Neighborhood Association. Clarke said there’s enough ad revenue in Decatur to support it, provided it’s managed effectively.

If Clarke can get things worked out, she could resume production of the Leaflet in January.

“Everything is going to be exactly the same,” Clarke said. “I’m just doing it because it’s not being done efficiently now.”

I hope there’s a future for the Leaflet, even if it’s just to provide a public service to older readers. If there’s any role Decaturish can play in that, I’d be happy to help.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Rick Baggenstoss

    Midway Woods has had a similar, ongoing debate. With about 750 – 1000 homes, it’s expensive to produce and distribute. Most of us get our news from the n’hood blog, facebook, etc. so the value is really for offline consumption by folks who *may* still read it. Distributing thru the ‘free library’ network, a few retail locations, or something similar would make sense to me.

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