Beginning Dec. 15, the Great Bend Tribune will change from publishing five days a week to publishing three days a week.
As much as I hate to say it, this has been a long time coming. Realistically it should have happened years ago, but it was not something any of us wanted to do. Today, although I know it is the right decision to make, it is still a difficult one.
I am confident that this decision will allow us the opportunity to remain the most complete and accurate source of local news and information in the area.
Starting Dec. 15, the Tribune will begin publishing on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. The Tribune website, www.gbtribune.com will continue to be updated with news and information as it happens. The eTribune will continue to be uploaded on publication days. The free Daily News Updates will continue to be emailed to Daily News Update subscribers 5 days a week and obituaries will be added to the mix. If you are not already signed up for the Daily News Updates, look for how to sign up in the coming days. All of the Tribune’s digital access is provided to subscribers as part of their print subscription. Digital only subscriptions are available as well.
Going forward, in the Tribune you will find an increased emphasis on local and area news and less emphasis on national news and syndicates. So, yes, there are some things that you have grown accustomed to seeing that will no longer be available. There will no longer be daily comics, but you will find more local photos. You will be seeing a lot less Associated Press and national columnists, but you will find more local opinion. There will still be obituaries, puzzles, sales flyers and the Sunday comics, plus you will also be seeing more local and area content.
I know this may be disappointing to you, our readers. All of us at the Tribune truly appreciate your loyalty and support. We appreciate that you look forward to reading the paper first thing in the morning.
There are many things that contributed to our decision to reduce publication days. But, the bottom line is we need to reduce publication days in order to move forward as a stronger business. Sadly, many Kansas daily newspapers have elected to significantly reduce or eliminate local news coverage to reduce costs. I vehemently feel that this is a disservice to subscribers and their respective communities. Be assured that this is not the direction we are headed.
Like the rest of the media industry, for the past two decades we have tried to find the right business model to provide strong community journalism and an effective way for our advertisers to reach potential customers. And although we have been successful in certain areas, including events and specialty publications, the rise and proliferation of smart phones, social media, the massive growth of online shopping and advertising, not to mention the endless number of websites that offer free classified ads, job listings and information, have made it much more difficult to fund quality journalism.
Local retail businesses, the traditional underwriters of community journalism, have had to cut back advertising and many have closed their doors. In addition, like many other local organizations, we have been unable to fill open staff and carrier positions, which makes it difficult for us to focus on what is most important—our local communities.
I urge each and every one of you to support local businesses whenever you can. This will help keep jobs local. It helps ensure easy access to goods and services. It keeps those dollars in our community to support wages, charities, and schools. It also increases community investment and lowers taxes.
Be assured that this change doesn’t mean the Tribune will stop being a vibrant and vital part of Great Bend and the surrounding communities. Our traditional and historic role of chronicling all things that are important to our readers will not change. We will continue to perform our role as the legal publication of the county and city. We will continue to provide the best in-depth news in our area and we will continue to be the watchdog of our elected officials, courts and governing bodies. We still want you to submit your opinions, news and milestones.
With the decrease in publishing days, subscription prices will be reduced to $110 for in-town delivery. Other rates including rates for shorter subscriptions will be reduced accordingly. If you are a subscriber and have paid in advance, your subscription will automatically be extended and your future bills will be reflective of the new rates. If you are an auto-pay customer, the rate your credit, debit or bank account is charged will be adjusted automatically.
I have been with the Tribune for over 25 years and have been publisher for the past 13 years. Some of you have subscribed to the Tribune significantly longer than that and some of you are new to us. Some of you pick up the Tribune at a store or a rack a few times a week. Some of you read us online and follow us on social media. But, you all share a common motivation. You want to know what’s going on in our community and you trust the Tribune to be your best source for news and information about the businesses, events and people in our communities.
On Dec. 15, the Great Bend Tribune will be publishing a newspaper three days per week instead of five, but that won’t change our commitment to serving the community or our responsibility of living up to the trust all of you, our readers, place in us.
Thank you and as always, we appreciate your support and feedback.