It’s been roughly three weeks since we announced our plans to move our daily newspaper delivery to USPS mail, and since then I have personally fielded dozens of comments and concerns surrounding the decision.
This move to mail was not an easy decision to make. But it was a necessary one to ensure the sustainability of our news organization and allow us to do what we do best, covering local news that matters to the communities we serve.
We have been working very closely with the U.S. Postal Service to ensure its timely delivery promises will be met by our Oct. 19 move-to-mail date, and have even assisted in recruitment efforts to help fill their vacancies.
Our challenge is clear. To meet the needs of our readers, we must move away from a delivery system that costs us money and is almost impossible to sustain, or face unacceptable alternatives: make staff reductions that would restrict our ability to cover news, or cut back days of delivery to offset those costs.
Clearly, these options would hamper our ability to cover the news you want in the timely way you deserve.
Here’s the good news. Today, on top of our thousands of print readers, we also have over 220,000 monthly visitors to our websites, over 42,000 Facebook followers, and over 2,500 monthly users of our e-edition. That’s in addition to daily email newsletters, our magazine and special sections.
It’s a lot of news to generate and a large swath of Southern Vermont to cover. We employ 28 full-time employees and have a bevy of contributing writers and correspondents who help to fuel this operation. In the end, we believe we must focus our resources to bolster our news coverage.
What we do is too important to let it fade into oblivion, like so many newspapers across the nation. Local news is a service to the community, both in the stories it shares, and in the checks and balances that it offers to our schools, neighborhoods and town halls.
We do understand that any changes made to our newspapers disrupt some of your reading habits. While some readers love comics and wouldn’t stick around if we cut Doonesbury, for example, others solely look to us for their child’s sports coverage. While many folks throw away the weekend coupons and store flyers, others find tremendous value in those services, which help them to budget their shopping. Our decision to make the switch to mail was made to offer the very best of what we do, all while sticking to our core values and mission.
So, from local news, sports, arts, obituaries, public notices, TV listings, grocery store circulars, weather information, national news, stocks, crossword and puzzles, and much, much more, we really have a little of everything to hopefully satisfy everyone.
Getting the news out daily is key for our operation to work — whether that’s in print format or digital, it’s our highest priority. If the move to mail doesn’t work for the greater good, we will find other means to get the papers delivered daily.
No matter the information delivery method, we can’t do it without support from you, our readers and advertisers. You are key to our survival and success, and it’s you who keep local community news paid for and flowing. It’s an important mission and one I am proud to be part of, and I ask you, our subscribers, to stick with us for this transition.
I’m also happy to report that more than 65 subscribers have taken us up on our offer of a PC tablet at no extra charge for a year’s subscription. If you want to sign up, too, reach out to our circulation desk and ask for the pad subscription offer.
By using existing U.S. postal routes, we’re reducing our carbon footprint dramatically; and for every new digital subscriber, that’s one less tree that’s felled for newsprint. For us, it’s a simple matter of survival, so we can make good on our mission to bring you as much news as possible from all corners of Southern Vermont. Thank you for sticking with us.