Posted by Editor: FDBobko
April 1, 2021 
Debra Hershon
Publisher of the Half Moon Bay Review
Article by Susan Kealey
Photos by Dianne Bobko
Ginger introduced our speaker, Debra Hershon, Publisher of the Half Moon Bay Review.  Debra has rejoined the Review after an 8 year hiatus. Debra originally joined the Review as Creative Director/Publisher 1991-2012. She served as Director of Marketing and Associate Publisher for Marin Magazine and Make It Better Media Group, 2012-2020. Debra has served as a Board Member for many organizations including the California Newspaper Publishers Association, Senior Coastsiders, and the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce.  In rejoining the Review in September 2020, Debra gets to see her daughter and granddaughters, who live here, more often as well as being involved in a community she loves.  

Debra started with the question “how has the paper changed since it was sold back to a community not for profit organization?”  Today you will struggle to find classifieds as Craig’s List has taken over that business. The paper is now owned by a For Benefit Corporation, a non-profit would have precluded the Review from any involvement in politics. The transition from a profit to a benefit corporation is hard. Any profit that the paper does make goes back to the community—hiring additional staff, to support school journalism, etc. 

The paper is thinner—there are not as many ads, community events, no sports...we will be getting most of these things back starting in March. On buying the Pacifica Tribune, there are synergies—county news, 1/2 time reporter sharing, shared expenses. That paper was down to six pages and didn’t have much news coverage. Pacificans are happy to have their paper back. There will be a website built for the Tribune. 
The Review and the Tribune will remain two separate papers. They may share some stories. The Coastside Magazine is like the Review and the Tribune had a baby, it will cover both markets. The magazine has double the market and should see the biggest ad growth. As a result, we will get to know a little more about Pacifica. With the opening of Devil’s Slide, we’ve experienced greater cohesion with the Pacifica community and the magazine will support that. 
Digital vs. print—digital is instant, however weekly is still valid. Stories will go digital first then to print. Printed stories will expand and have added value. Print also provides a needed break from screen time. 
Subscriptions are down to. Print is now at 3,000, the Tribune is about the same. Coast Magazine is at 6,000. There will be a subscription drive   Digital only has 8,000-9,000 local subscribers. 
Some of the things Debra forecasts include—
•The growth of the digital market. 
•More participation in community events—watch for things happening in 2020. 
•Would like to see a return of the Flower Market. 
•Envisions the Review as a leader in the community—hosting forums during elections, supporting schools and investing profits in the community. 
•She intends to push for more community news, the police blotter, marriages, etc., whatever people are talking about. She’d like to see business stories, new restaurants or new chefs. 
Q and A
Kevin supported the idea of interviewing new businesses. He would like to know why Half Moon Bay, what their experience is, etc. Debra responded that would be valuable to businesses, better than a discount on an ad. 
EJ wondered about the print to digital transition, where do you see the shift more?  People have become used to online, they are hungry for news. People don’t always know what they might want to read. The paper is working on algorithms and a newsletter to highlight what the writers are working on. 
Mary commented the paper should be proud of their young superstar reporters. According to Debra that is all Clay—he is a good mentor. Two of his protégés have moved to the New York Times, one to Forbes and one is at Google. They get a good base here. 
Dave inquired if Mark Foyer will ever be back. Mark has a devastating disease and may not be able to return. They remain in contact, his absence is a big loss. 
Joe mentioned he is a big fan of the history column. Debra thanked him, wants to promote a then and now concept and something directed at kids. 
Warren wondered if subscriptions were down and commented that he likes Mark’s (Debra’s husband) cartoons. Thank you and yes, there has been a steady decline with COVID. 
Ralph welcomed her back and relayed he received a call on a property in Princeton by someone in Pennsylvania. When asked how the caller heard about the property, he found a copy of the Review in a restroom and saw the ad. He’s been referring people to the digital paper for apartment rentals. 
Debra closed by saying that she was honored to be with us today and suggested that the paper would be interested in working with our club on a fundraising subscription drive. She would love to eventually come to an in-person meeting. 

Club Meeting - April 8, 2021 

President Mary Rogren called the meeting to order.
Pledge of Allegiance - Susan Kealey 

Inspiration Thought -  Kevin serenaded us with “Forever Young”, accompanying himself on the guitar. A rare and pleasant treat.


Guests -  Barbara Masek

Happy/Crappy News  and Announcements yescrying

EJ reported to us that there were two important events yesterday—number one was National Beer Day and number two was President-elect Joe’s Birthday. It turns out it was Zoe’s Birthday as well. Kevin led us in singing Happy Birthday. 

Mary reported on the recent Board Meeting. We are short on funds for teachers, we raised $450 from individual board members, $400 from the Club, we are looking for more. Kevin and Ralph raised their hands. If you’d like to contribute, send a check to POB 33 or drop it off at Mary’s office. 

Rose reports there is no date for the fence project yet. Next week is Earth Day—the city is doing a recycling event. RI has a tree planting challenge, more info to come. Beach clean up—Mitone has changed our normal day to Saturday. Meet at Dunes Beach at 10 am. Warren will bring the tent, she’s trying to get vests for volunteers. Other clubs are doing similar events. Sean and Zoe—Montara Beach?  

It’s Rose’s Birthday on Sunday!

Mary advised we are in the running for best club and a citation award. Zoom in on the District Conference and see us spotlighted. 

Rick Chin notified us the Millbrae Club is having a golf tournament, Mary will send an email. 

Kevin noted Abundant Grace is laying pavers and building a pergola. Check it out. 

Mary reports that she bought 36 bags of diapers and needs to deliver them to Coastside Hope—looking for a volunteer.

Marble Draw  sad surpriseWarren won and pulled a green marble ☹️

Thank you to Barbara Masek for joining us today. Mary will follow up with her.