Changes coming for the Democrat

Over the past decade, the newspaper business has faced unprecedented change. And because of that change, newspapers have had to adapt or face extinction. Many newspapers across the country are no longer here because of the changes in how we communicate.

When our company purchased The Durant Democrat Oct. 1, we knew it would also have to change. We didn’t know exactly how much, but it is clear the marketplace can’t support a newspaper published five days per week. It’s just too expensive to maintain the resources necessary for a daily newspaper. Like any business, we must align our expenses to the revenue.

Beginning Dec. 5, we will publish The Democrat three days per week – Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It will be distributed to subscribers through the mail on each of those days, which will remedy delivery problems we have had recently.

Current subscribers will have their subscriptions extended so that they will receive the same number of editions they paid for. For example, if someone paid for 52 weeks, they would have expected to receive 260 editions – 52 x 5 days = 260. If that person has 20 weeks left at the time of this conversion, they will still get 100 editions [20 x 5], but it will take roughly 33 weeks [33 and a third x 3 = 100]. So, the subscription will be extended about 13 weeks to cover the example above. No one will lose money on this conversion.

Subscription renewals and new subscriptions will cost less than before, so folks will save money. And, even though we will publish fewer days, we will have more local news each week than we did in our 5-day paper due to the labor savings.

Our web site will soon be available with a subscription to the paper. We will eventually offer an internet-only subscription to those who prefer that to a mailed copy. Timely information, such as obituaries, may appear first online before going into the next printed paper.

For our advertising clients, this new business model provides some advantages as well. Advertising in the newspaper will now have twice the shelf life as before. We are also improving the print quality of the newspaper so that color quality for photos and advertising will be more consistent.

Everyone knows that state and national news are available from many sources. We want to focus on local news and sports – information that residents want to see and that’s difficult to get from anywhere else. That’s the new role of small newspapers: local, local, local.

We think you will like what you see in the coming weeks, although we expect to make some tweaks from time to time. We welcome your ideas as well.

To summarize:

• Most subscribers will get their papers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through the mail.

• Current subscriptions will be extended to adjust for the reduction in publication days.

• There will be more local news.

• Subscriptions will cost less.

• Delivery will be more reliable.

• Our print quality will improve.

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