‘The report of my death was an exaggeration,” Mark Twain famously proclaimed in an 1897 letter to a newspaper reporter who had inquired about rumors of his failing health.
That metaphor seems appropriate in the wake of the recent announcement that The Daily Astorian will change its print publication frequency beginning May 6 to three days a week — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday — and deliver newspapers via postal carrier.
Many anxious readers have called to express their concerns. Is the newspaper in bankruptcy? Is it going out of business?
No and no.
We are being proactive in adjusting to the financial challenges facing all local media companies today. It’s expensive to distribute a newspaper. The savings we will achieve through these changes position us well to continue delivering news to your doorsteps, your computers and your mobile devices well into the future.
Our parent company, EO Media Group, is locally owned, debt-free and committed to community journalism. As Publisher Kari Borgen recently wrote, we have invested in a new press tower that allows us to feature more color throughout our pages. And our printing press continues to serve other newspapers around the region, with even more print business likely headed our way.
Not cutting news
First and foremost, we are not cutting news staff.
We plan to offer just as much local news in print three days a week as we now offer in five. That means thicker newspapers, with more sections and in some cases more features.
We will continue to run a digital-first newsroom, posting breaking news online as it happens. We recently revamped our website at DailyAstorian.com to optimize the mobile reading experience and offer more video capabilities, among other upgrades. We’re also working on a news app that will offer push notifications if you’d like to be alerted when breaking news happens.
Reporters are the indispensable life blood of any news operation. We have a talented, award-winning staff that works hard to keep you informed on what’s going on in your city, your county, the region and the state capital.
Many other newspaper companies are bleeding their newsrooms dry, cutting reporters, photographers and editors to maintain profitability, pad the corporate coffers or satiate the shareholders. Most of those companies are run by people who don’t live in the local communities in which they publish. They couldn’t care less whether the City Council is covered, the election results are reported or if local officials are held accountable.
Thankfully, that’s not the case here.
We want to put the best news product in your hands as we possibly can. We believe passionately in our mission statement, which says in part, “We are committed to reporting and distributing local news and information because a well-informed public keeps our communities strong.”
What do you like?
We have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks. It’s not unlike a jigsaw puzzle, reassembling the pages into a new structure that makes sense and feels familiar. Where will the comics go? What days should certain weekly features appear? What new features should we consider adding?
If you have thoughts you’d like to offer, please send them to email@example.com.
We will continue to place local news almost exclusively on our front page, with regional and national news inside. Most news and sports will live in the A section, with most features in the B section. Coast Weekend will continue to publish Thursdays. The Seaside Signal will be inserted on Saturdays, rather than Fridays, in the Seaside area.
One sure-to-be welcome improvement for local sports fans is that high school football and basketball games played on Friday nights will be reported in Saturday’s newspaper. You won’t have to wait until Monday for that news in print anymore.
Listen to Kari and I discuss the upcoming changes with Joan Herman on her Perspectives show at Coast Community Radio: bit.ly/da-changes
Watch video of the new press tower in operation: bit.ly/da-press-tower