2013 is a year of change. Much of what we normally do is routine and there is a natural reluctance and resistance to change. But change is often good, and often marks progress. Change is not always progress, but progress is always change.
Here at the paper, there is change coming and some that have already come. Many changes you’ve already seen, such as a change in ownership and with that comes a different philosophy and different set of goals for the publication.
Part of the change is a necessary reaction to changing times. To attempt to keep everything the same would amount to a recipe for failure. Part of what drives change is economics, part is in response to readers’ needs, then throw in the natural tendency of people to do things differently. That can sometimes be a tightrope walk and times often force changes that you don’t want to do and some that may not be so popular.
Two major factors drive how we’re able to publish the Independent. The two largest factors we deal with—the two major expenses–are printing and mailing. Remember when the price of your groceries went up in response to the price of diesel? Well, so has everything else. The price of newsprint has increased because of that delivery and that forces our printer to charge higher prices. Not only has that, but the delivery of your paper has gone up with increases in postal costs. The price of your subscription has increased, but that covers only the increased mailing costs.
As you may have noticed, some media publications have gone to an entirely “online” edition, and some of those have been very large publications. The costs of paper products and delivery have affected them too and that is what forced them to go “online” to continue delivering their service to their readers.
Recently I read that younger adults have changed their reading habits. Most of the older folks like to have a paper in their hands while they read. Younger people do much better with a mouse or an ipad in their hands. After all, they grew up with computers. You might say they have more problems with their eyes, but you’ll not change that habit until the next generation of technology comes along. At that point, change will again happen.
But it is in ours and our readers’ best interest to keep up with the times—yes, change. So beginning either the first of February or March, we will only send the paper to subscribers and we will make provision for more of the papers to be dropped off at newsstands. This will mean nothing to the subscriber base, they will continue receiving the paper as usual.
What we will do in place of the free issue is to have the entire paper online at urindependent.com and everyone will be able to access the information there. What this will mean to advertisers is that their advertising will reach a larger number of people in a broader coverage area. Not only will it be online, but it will be in total color, as opposed to the two to four pages that we now carry in color. That on-line issue will be delivered in a PDF format, making it easy to download and to read. This change is expected to happen on February 1.
We will still maintain a web site, and many of the stories will appear on those pages. You might also look for slightly more video on those pages.
Let me emphasize that those loyal subscribers who have been with us and who have subscriptions, will still receive their papers just as they do today. For them, there will be no change.
What we hope this will do is to increase readership, broaden the scope of our readership while maintaining the readers who wish to have a paper in their hands when settling in for the evening. The change will deliver the paper right to a person’s PC, laptop, I phone or tablet. It will be in full color, with clarity you cannot get in a printed news page. It will be available 24/7 and from any place you can access the internet.
News stand copies will be available in the same places and we will make more copies available there, in case someone needs an extra paper. Let me repeat again, there will be no change for news paper subscribers. The paper will still be delivered to your door, mailbox or post office box.
Now, there is another change that you will see shortly. The first paper in January will have an entirely different look. The familiar “I” will change to the word “Independent” which will be spelled out and much larger than before. You will also notice that the “teasers,” the little pictures on the front of the paper, will have moved.
If you have questions regarding this change, please call the office at 541 826-7700, we’d love to hear from you.