Imperial Valley College Journalism

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Holtville Publishing Thrives While Print Industry Dies


Lendal Macon, 63, has been following the Holtville Tribune since he moved to Holtville from Tennessee in 1963. The former Holtville High School band director says he appreciates the coverage the Tribune has given his past music programs.

Lendal Macon, 63, has been following the Holtville Tribune since he moved to Holtville from Tennessee in 1963. The former Holtville High School band director says he appreciates the coverage the Tribune has given his past music programs.

By Jorge Villalobos

HOLTVILLE , Calif – Since his arrival from Tennessee to Holtville, California in 1963, he’s followed the Holtville Tribune. His name is Lendal Macon and he holds a close relationship with the Tribune as the now-retired band director at Holtville High School for more than 30 years.

“It’s always been excellent. I have no complaints about the Tribune,” Macon says. “They’ve always given my band program, chorus program, flag girls, shield girls, estudiantina, when I had a estudiantina, good coverage.”

Macon is now the band director of the Holtville Middle School “Warrior,” band. He says he looks to the Tribune to provide news and information about his former students. He even checks the online version for his information nowadays. “I’ve done that a few times to see if there is any picture of the band in there, or any activities with our school and our community here in Holtville, and they do a very good job at the online webpage,” Macon said, smiling.

News changes constantly and it has certainly changed from the time Macon first picked up the Tribune in 1963. “It’s hard for me to remember as far back to the 60’s and 70’s,” he says. “I’m sure they had a lot of school info, too. But I think probably the most things that I’m seeing is there are more colored pages and if I’m not mistaken, all the issues are free now,” chuckled Macon.

Steve Larson, left, is the owner and publisher of the Holtville Tribune, Imperial Valley Weekly and Calexico Chronicle.  Chris Furguson, right, is a production assistant for the newspapers

Steve Larson, left, is the owner and publisher of the Holtville Tribune, Imperial Valley Weekly and Calexico Chronicle. Chris Furguson, right, is a production assistant for the newspapers

How exactly does the Tribune develop relationships like the one with Macon? They’ve kept it small and local. Steve Larson is the publisher of the Imperial Valley Weekly, the Holtville Tribune and the Calexico Chronicle.

“We had to rely on mostly mom-and-pop businesses and a lot of small retailers,” explained Larson. By doing a lot of local news and features, the Tribune developed a relationship with the community which now relies on the “printed word,” as Larson plainly puts it.

During the last several years both small and large print publishing concerns around the country have either cut back significantly or folded altogether in the face of Internet competition. However, the ailing economy locally has had the reverse effect and kept the Tribune afloat through the tough years.

Brenda Torres, general manager of the Holtville Trib's marketing and advertising, says the paper has thrived in bad years due to legal notices from local foreclosures.

Brenda Torres, general manager of the Holtville Trib's marketing and advertising, says the paper has thrived in bad years due to legal notices from local foreclosures.

“The portion of the newspaper which is the legal section, which is where we are doing really well because of the foreclosures, that part of the legal section of the newspaper is doing fantastic,” explains Brenda Torres.

Torres has been in the business for more than 20 years, and is currently the general manager of marketing and advertising for the Tribune. As the Tribune’s online presence grows, so do the advertisers. “The Imperial Valley Weekly, Calexico Chronicle and Holtville Tribune have been online for about one year, so it’s increased at least 50 percent so I see it pushed up another 25 percent,” Torres said.

According to Larson, the Tribune affords them a new direction and focus. For the past few months the Tribune, Weekly and Chronicle have seen a push in the online market.

James Predmore does reporting for the Tribune/Weekly/Chronicle newspapers, but his focus for the last year has been the online version of the newspapers.

James Predmore does reporting for the Tribune/Weekly/Chronicle newspapers, but his focus for the last year has been the online version of the newspapers.

James Predmore is the website manager for the Tribune. He says his goal is for readers to find all the information in one spot. “Over the last probably six months or so we’ve noticed that our traffic and what we do through our videos on You Tube has steadily been increasing,” explained Predmore. “Larson feels that there is a market there for advertising and it’s an easy way for us to get more of what the people seem to want to watch–videos.”

The online edition of the papers are meant to be an expansion of the printed edition while long-time readers like Macon adapt to the electronic version.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this journalist is under the employment of the Holtville Tribune.

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