Peter Imes

Publisher, The Commercial Dispatch

Peter Imes is the fourth-generation Publisher of The Commercial Dispatch, serving Columbus and Starkville, Miss.


A small newspaper like us can’t generate the page views that we need to make money, significant money anyway, off digital ad sales.

We’re trying to be creative with kind of the traditional ways also in the ways we bundle print and digital subscriptions. For example, by offering magazines as a print advertising alternative to newspapers. And all of those work to an extent. But I just haven’t found anything that, on the traditional newspaper side, is going to help sustain kind of our news gathering efforts the way that we want to. So, that’s why we started looking at things kind of completely separate from traditional ad sales, or traditional subscriptions.

The advantage of this platform (GeoTix) over Eventbrite ... would be that you get to sell tickets online, but you also get the promotional power of being partnered with a newspaper. … So, for example, we would go out to the local arts council we say, ‘You’re selling all of your tickets currently just at the door, paper tickets, we want to allow you to sell digital tickets. We can make that happen for you easily, and we can give you promotions for your events throughout the year.’ And so, that’s something we just kicked off in the past month.

We’re very focused on what our newsroom needs to be doing. So, we make a conscious effort not to get distracted by telling our reporters to go out and get video from the scenes, and we’re very focused in the way, and limited in the way, that we use social media. And I know that neither of those are trendy, but I think a lot of news (organizations) have gone astray because they have asked their reporters to do all of these different things at the sacrifice of good quality journalism. So we’re kind of doubling down on having our reporters stay focused on solid news gathering.