A letter from Nevada Appeal Publisher Michael Raher
July 3, 2018
Dear Nevada Appeal readers,
To say we live in interesting times would be an understatement. The general challenges we read about every day in our papers are mirrored in our industry. Consumer behavior has changed, people's faith in media has been called into question, advertisers have legions of options (though, of course, all work better when paired with local media); and, to top it off, the industry now faces stiff tariffs on newsprint, our second largest expense item.
The Nevada Appeal is lucky enough to be a part of a family-owned company which believes the role of local media in communities is to serve, that the stories we cover are important to our well-being, and that democracy suffers without them. However, to put it bluntly, the challenges we now face have impacted our ability to be profitable and serve the way we used to.
Faced with some tough decisions, we chose to change our model in a way that allows us to match consumer behavior, mirror the support our community has given us, and to shift to quality over quantity. We don't take these decisions lightly. Our hearts are with our readers, and our hands have been deeply involved in the community for a century and a half. We've given beyond our ability to take care of our own house, and that needs to change. What won't change is our love and dedication for what we do and the people who rely on us to do it. We offer our news on many platforms. Those will continue to grow. We still will offer a print product for those who prefer it, just on fewer days per week. To be fair, we'd become used to a daily during a time when even the number of dailies has decreased. It's time for us to catch up with that reality. In attempting to continue that tradition, we'd spread ourselves too thin. We want to do better — just less often.
This week we announced frequency changes to the Nevada Appeal, and its sister publications, which take effect the week of July 16. The main changes and schedule are the Nevada Appeal "midweek" edition will be published every Wednesday and the "weekend" edition will be published every Saturday.
I know you are frustrated, maybe even disappointed.
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We are, too.
If and when we can give you more print, we will, because we are a mirror of you, the community, in what you want and need, and how you vote with your dollars. The formula for the newspaper business model is simple, really: advertising and subscription revenue dollars fuel the engine to produce quality news, which is expensive, and navigate the logistics to deliver it to you. When we try to do that on the cheap, we all suffer. When the dollars aren't there, we're faced with hard choices.
We have 153 years in our rearview mirror, and look forward to many years more. To do that, we have to take steps now, the hard ones, which we are doing. Fortunately, we are doing it with some of the most talented, committed people I've ever had the pleasure to work with. We are confident in where we are going. All we can ask is that you join us, so that we can thrive together as one community.
Michael (Mick) Raher is group publisher of the Nevada Appeal, The Record-Courier and the Lahontan Valley News. He can be reached at 775-881-7326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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