Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finally, an Internet connection

Finding an Internet connection in Sumy, Ukraine is not easy. The hotel where we're staying advertised Wi-Fi, but had to call in an IT person to show how to use it.

This isn't the Hampton Inn. But it's nice.

We're in the third day of working with the staff of Panorama, a weekly newspaper in the city. They have a connection, but we've been busy during the day working with their staff.

The irony of the trip is that a newspaper 7,000 miles away from Amarillo is facing the exact same challenges as most newspapers in the U.S.
Panorama is dealing with the challenges of operating a business in a recession. They are transitioning to a digital age while maintaining the print product, which still generates most of the revenue.

However, they have an entirely different circulation model than U.S. newspapers. They sell single copies of the paper in a few select stores and at goverment-owned kiosks. Subscriptions are not as common as U.S. newspapers. They are sold through the government-owned post offices not by the newspapers themselves, for the most part.
Most people live in apartments - many in the old Soviet style gray box buildings - so delivery by carriers isn't a very viable option.

The newspaper is printed three hours from Sumy and is one of three weeklies in the city. However, the other two are owned by political officials.

But this weekly Urkanian newspaper is just as sophisticated and their staff is just as smart as many American newspapers.

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