A local newspaper’s role in its community is vital — and that’s not going to change.
Papers like the Peninsula Clarion are an ongoing record of local history, the Fourth Estate, a source of information about the community, a snapshot of opinions by people you probably know and so much more.
While those functions — and our core mission of reporting timely, accurate Kenai Peninsula news — remain unchanged, those might be the only things in the news industry that haven’t recently seen rapid, massive changes. The reality is the local paper isn’t only a local paper anymore.
We’re also a round-the-clock digital platform communicating through several social media accounts and that’s increasingly how readers are choosing to consume their news.
It’s also increasingly how we’re going to be reporting it.
Beginning May 3, the Clarion will be printed off-site in Alaska, and delivered on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
This decision is in part a reflection of the reality that the cost of making a physical product five days a week has become unaffordable and unsustainable. It’s a cost that has continued to climb much faster than subscription rates. However, those have recently risen, and yet, we’re telling readers to expect fewer editions of the paper. That’s unfair and it’s why beginning in May, subscribers will see a 15-25% decrease in subscription prices.
The change is also an acknowledgement that we can do a better job of meeting readers where they’re at.
Our hope is that the new print schedule will allow staff to work with a digital-first mindset.
That means a greater flexibility in when news is reported and what our reporting can look like, wherever you read it.
We understand that this is a sizable change and one that many longtime subscribers may not like. However, we ask that if this change is something you feel passionate about, to do two things.
The first is to give the new publication cycle a chance. More time to report, edit and design coupled with a new-to-us press should mean a stronger, albeit less frequent, print product.
The second is to channel that energy, that passion, into something that helps us be a better news source for you — and that isn’t just a prompt to subscribe or advertise, but please do that too.
Communicate what reporting connects with you. Tell us what we can do better.
While we believe it is imperative that the Clarion continues to fill a crucial role in its community, it’s equally important to us that the community fills a vital role in its local news source, and we hope you’ll do that.
David Rigas is the publisher of the Peninsula Clarion.