If you received the new Barrington Life newspaper in your mail on Thursday, you may have read by now that we at 365Barrington.com are joining Barrington Life publisher, Shaw Media, in a news and marketing partnership, starting this month. Our hope is that, together, we can do an even better job of sharing the stories you most enjoy reading about Barrington. The 3-month-old newspaper is an exciting new offering for our community because it is focused solely on Barrington-specific content and mailed weekly to over 17,000 homes and businesses in zip code 60010. From the very first publication, I’ve been impressed with the photography and the focus on local people, news and events.
When the idea was suggested that we work together in covering Barrington, sharing content and developing new marketing initiatives, it just made sense. It’s a new relationship that will only serve to benefit those who request that we share their messages with our community of readers at 365Barrington.com.
But I took considerable time learning more about the company over the past few months and have had several opportunities to visit with Shaw Media’s President, John Rung.
I was most impressed with the fact that Shaw Media operates the third oldest, continuously owned and operated family newspaper in the nation. Six generations of the Shaw family have been involved with growing the business. The 162-year-old company now runs dozens of successful online and print publications throughout Illinois and Iowa, including the award winning Northwest Herald newspaper covering McHenry County.
John Rung told me a little more about the company’s founder, Benjamin F. Shaw, who started the business at age 20 in 1851, when he became owner and editor of The Dixon Telegraph and Herald, printed in Dixon, Illinois.
“B.F. Shaw formed the paper as an anti-slavery vehicle. He was good friends with Abraham Lincoln and, in fact, helped Abraham Lincoln form the Republican Party in Illinois.”
An excerpt from a book about the Shaw family’s history states that B. F. Shaw’s Dixon Telegraph “…remained politically neutral during its first few years of operation, but the growing unrest concerning the slavery question forced Shaw and his staff to take a stand…”
“It was the most important decision in the history of the newspaper and would have a major impact on the ever-widening readership of the Telegraph and other papers that would become part of the B. F. Shaw Printing Company.”
John Rung says Shaw Media’s new Barrington Life newspaper is the latest in the the company’s long legacy of finding new opportunities to share relevant community news and information.
“We think Barrington is a great town that we believe is underserved by traditional media companies and so we decided it deserved its own specific information source in print and online, but more specifically, in print. We believe the print experience has changed a great deal, but we believe it’s an important experience. And if [Barrington Life] is good, if it’s colorful, informative and entertaining, then we believe people will read it.”
They hired a full time reporter, Tarah Thorne, to cover Barrington. You’re sure to see Tarah, out and about, interviewing people and covering events for Barrington Life. Tarah first worked with Shaw Media when she interned with the Northwest Herald and she studied journalism and communications before graduating from the University of Iowa this year. Tarah’s enthusiasm for this new job is evident. “I enjoy the fact that Barrington is a closely knit community that has maintained a local focus with many authentic family businesses. Plus, no two days are alike. Every day is a blank page and I wake up looking forward to filling it.
The Group Editor for Shaw Media’s Suburban Publications, Dan McCaleb, says their goal is to keep readers informed about the community. “In each week’s paper, we want a variety of different kinds of stories, from harder news to governmental news to more feature-focused, enterprise stories. The basic topics we cover are education, government, business, personal profiles, volunteers, health and nature. We want each issue to be a bit of a slice of life in Barrington.”
John Rung says they’ll work hard to offer the Barrington audience the kind of content they’d most like to read. “I think Barrington Life is changing on a weekly basis as we listen to our readers. So we’re a neighbor who is really trying to become part of the fabric of the community.”
With regard to our new partnership, John says, “We looked at what you were doing with 365Barrington.com and thought we matched up pretty well in that you are an insider in the community and that there may be some things we could do together to make both institutions a little stronger. Most importantly, if it serves the people of Barrington better, then that’s a positive.”
Barrington Life’s latest issues are released on Thursdays each week and you can also read their stories online at MyBarringtonLife.com. Plus, they offer video production services, with their Shaw Video Works department. If you’d like to learn more about Shaw Media, its history and other print and online publications, you’ll find the company’s website at ShawMedia.com.