A Very Clever Way to Sell a Newspaper

Owner of Vermont's Hardwick Gazette tags minimum purchase price to an essay contest.

Imagine if you came across an ad offering up a weekly Vermont newspaper for sale. Circulation – 2,200; purchase price – $122,500. In this day and age, a risky proposition.

But what if the speculative buy-in price was just $175? Per an item by Boston Globe digital reporter Steve Annear, that’s what Ross Connelly, the owner of the Hardwick Gazette, has very ingeniously come up with:

The [400-word essay writing] contest runs from June 11, through Aug. 11, or until the maximum number of entries are received. Connelly hopes to draw enough interest from the public that he and a panel of judges will need to sift through 1,889 essays – a number that reflects the year the newspaper was first published.

Entrants will need to cough up $175 – if 1,889 people step up, Connelly stands to make $330,575 – and craft an essay detailing how they plan to keep afloat a print publication in the age of the internet.

The minimum number of entries required for the contest to proceed is 700 (which works out to the aforementioned total of $122,500). Millennials, start your dream-career-change engines!

Update (Aug. 12):
Per AP, Connelly has extended the contest deadline to Sept. 20. He is currently well short of the minimum required amount of 700 entries.

Update (Sept. 21):
The contest has been extended once again, with now a Kickstarter campaign added to make up the projected cash shortfall.

H/T: @Romenesko; image via: hardwickgazette.com

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.