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"The end of the News-Herald was swift for the staff and a shock to residents, who had somehow expected their newspaper to last forever," reports James Dobbins of The New York Times. "Enter Joel Langton, a 56-year-old military public-affairs veteran who decided to turn an online events website he had started into a 16-page, ad-supported weekly tabloid," The 830 Times, named for the area's telephone code and started a few months earlier as an online events website.
Langton hired two former News-Herald staffers to cover the news while keeping his day job at Laughlin Air Force Base. Karen Gleason told Dobbins, “The 830 Times is a leap of faith. I just want this paper to be a voice for the community, interesting and truthful stories about people in Del Rio.”
The 830 Times at Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, one of about 60 distribution
locations. (Photo by Christopher Lee for The New York Times)
Social media pose obstacles for The 830 Times. Noticias Del Rio TV, a bilingual Facebook page that also serves Ciudad Acuña, across the Rio Grande, has nearly 85,000 followers, Dobbins reports, while "The 830 Times so far has 3,000 followers. . . . The disparate numbers hint at the obstacles Mr. Langton faces in his push to make The 830 Times succeed in a world dominated by Google and Facebook advertising and competitors with Spanish-language appeal. . . . Langston concedes that his efforts to provide Del Rio with a newspaper it can hold in its hands are probably temporary. He believes the printed word is going extinct."
“Am I gambling on the print product? Yes. I could lose it all,” he told Dobbins. “I hate to tell you this, buddy, but in five or 10 years, newspapers won’t exist anymore.” Dobbins concludes: "He figures he has five years to prove himself wrong."