As we move into our second month of The Daily Herald’s transition to a mail-delivered newspaper and a new publishing schedule, I want to give you an update on what we’ve been working on to improve the experience for you as a reader, subscriber and supporter of local journalism.
There are many moving parts to operating a newspaper, but there is no more important person in public-service journalism than you. I want to thank all of you who are reading this message for sticking with us during the transition. I’m also grateful to the more than 250 individuals who personally reached out to me with your concerns and questions about why we made the changes we did.
For example, Stuart drove in from Lake Stevens, for a billing issue that we were able to work through. Joe from Stanwood is a small-business owner, subscriber and advertiser. He wanted to know if I had completely gone off the deep end. That was a fair question. (My wife was curious how I answered that one and so was most of the staff.) Mark from the Lake Goodwin area has updated me on his mail delivery several times. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I heard from you loud and clear.
Changing a historic newspaper with over a century of publications is not a matter to be taken lightly. And that was the exact reason we did it with care and preparation. The changes needed to be made to continue to serve you, our readers, and our community with public-service journalism. We knew there would be growing pains for all of us. That’s one of the reasons we offer free training and quick tips on how to use the Herald app, navigate the online print edition and get the most out of Heraldnet.com. We’ve taught nearly 20 training sessions, and they have been well-attended and worthwhile. Pam, a long-time subscriber, wrote us saying, “I was pleasantly surprised, once I figured out the app, how easy it is to enjoy the Herald digitally.”
We also have been working closely with local stations of the U.S. Postal Service. Delivering newspapers by mail isn’t a new thing and considering how massive of a change this was, this has been going well. In all but a few outlying areas, The Herald deploys the post office’s exceptional same-day delivery method. This requires us to arrive at 23 local post offices every evening and at various times to qualify for this service level. This is a commitment we feel is necessary to get the newspaper to our print subscribers each delivery day.
We have a few problem areas where the post offices are down on carriers, and this has caused some duplicate, missed or late deliveries. We have had several meetings with these stations to let them know where there have been specific problems and continue to talk with them about solutions.
Some of you, like Robert and Karen, also noticed our print quality has been lacking at times. We started to transition to a new printing press in Lakewood last year. Getting it fully running will take some trial and error, and we recognize that some of the printed newspapers you receive during this phase may appear a little fuzzy and not as sharp as we would like them to be. As our technicians dial this machine in and work through its idiosyncrasies, we hope you will find the wait worth it.
As I enter my 25th year in newspapers, I can honestly say that the past few have been extremely difficult for the industry but also the most rewarding. We went through a pandemic that had the highest amount of news coverage and readership that I have ever seen along with the lowest amount of revenue to cover this news. Yet we were able to persevere — thanks to you. Being a trusted, local source for journalism is at the core of our mission. We reflect this community, and we intend to be a part of it for as long as you’ll have us.
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