An open letter to our valued customers
Published 10:52 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018
I wanted to let you know of a change that we are getting ready to make, why we are making it and what it will mean for you.
As many of you may recall, when the late Hanes Byerly sold The Tidewater News to Boone Newspapers in 2006, our newspaper was published only twice a week. At the time, market conditions indicated that Western Tidewater was on the precipice of significant growth, both in terms of population size and economic development. As a result, the decision was made to increase the number of publication days from two to three times weekly in anticipation of that projected growth.
It might surprise you to learn that we even expected at some point to go to five or six editions per week when the conditions warranted such a change.
However, due to the downturn in both our national and local economies beginning in 2008, those market projections never materialized. We, as I am sure you do as well, remain hopeful that meaningful growth does take place in our region in the coming years. Until then, we must take steps to ensure the continued strength and vitality of this newspaper.
Several weeks ago, we published a column detailing a significant challenge facing the newspaper industry. Many American newspapers rely on newsprint imported from Canada, as a general decline in demand for newsprint has caused many American paper mills to close in recent years. Additionally, Congress has recently placed a tariff on imported Canadian newsprint that, along with a general tightening in supply, has caused newsprint prices to soar.
While we are financially sound, this increase in expenses has caused us as well as many other newspaper publishers across the country to examine ways to deal with this unexpected rise in costs.
Since our ownership of this newspaper began 12 years ago, it has been our philosophy to internally absorb the rising cost of doing business as much as possible while passing on to our customers as little of those costs as possible. In fact, we have not raised our annual subscription rate since increasing to three editions per week over a decade ago.
It is in the spirit of that philosophy that, rather than significantly increase our advertising and subscription rates, we have made the decision to eliminate our Friday edition of The Tidewater News. By doing so, we will be able to significantly reduce our newsprint consumption and circulation costs without reducing the amount of award-winning local content you have come to expect.
The news content that would have appeared in Friday’s edition will now simply be published in our Wednesday and Sunday editions. The last Friday edition will be published this week on Aug. 10.
Of course, we would not have made this decision without closely scrutinizing the impact it may have on our loyal advertisers and readers. After careful consideration, we are of the belief that this change will enhance our readers’ experience with the newspaper and, consequently, provide even greater value for our advertisers.
By having more content in each of our two editions, more time will be spent reading the newspaper and, therefore, more time will be spent seeing advertising.
I expect there will be some questions that arise from the announcement of this change, and I welcome the opportunity to personally answer any you may have.
Please feel free to contact me at any time by phone at 757-562-3187, by email at email@example.com or by stopping by our office at 1000 Armory Drive in Franklin. Our marketing representatives will be reaching out to advertisers in the coming days to discuss this change as well.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued loyalty to our community’s newspaper. Hometown newspapers like The Tidewater News are an integral part of every community. Your decision to advertise with and subscribe to us is a large part of what has allowed us to serve the community we share for the past 113 years and to continue to do so for many years to come.
Tony Clark is publisher of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.