Ridin' the Rapids - June 30


From 2004 until the start of the pandemic in 2020, the United States lost a quarter (around 2,100) of its newspapers, according to a report from the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. By the end of last year, another hundred were gone, the Poynter Institute reported. The result was the creation of “news deserts” -mostly located in financially-impacted rural areas of the country.

Over on the Oregon coast, the News Media Corporation and Central Coast Publishing has announced that Siuslaw News, Florence’s community newspaper, will be returning to a once-a-week publication. Starting in July, the 132-year-old newspaper will only have a print publication on Wednesdays.

Siuslaw News Publisher Jenna Bartlett said, “We sincerely thank our subscribers and advertisers for their support over the years. It matters to us now more than ever. We’re here not only for you, but because of you.”

Like other businesses across the U.S., the newspaper industry is experiencing increased costs in raw materials — paper, ink and gas, among them. Coupled with higher costs of living these days, News Media Corporation saw this as a solution, rather than further reducing the newspaper’s staff.

Around the U.S. some papers have tried to rely more heavily on subscriptions, while transitioning to mainly digital publishing. Some success stories include the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which has been operating since 1869. Last September, it switched to a daily digital edition and a single print edition on Sunday - from a daily print edition. The publication spent $6.1 million to give all its monthly subscribers iPads and train them one-on-one how to use them to access their daily paper, and it’s retained subscribers through the transition.

Unfortunately, River Reflections doesn’t have pockets deep enough to give our readers free iPads. But I’ve been trying my best to make our own transition as painless as possible.

Regular readers can feel a little less stress to learn a new printer for this newspaper has been found and will start running copies of Reflections on their web press in McMinnville next week. However, that change means Oregon Litho had to shoehorn not just this publication but also the Sweet Home New Era, the Brownsville Times, and the Fern Ridge-Tribune News into their printing schedule.

The owners of all four papers are cooperating in putting together a delivery plan to share ways of getting our publications from McMinnville to our offices so they can be dropped off at post offices and placed on newsstands. The result is that instead of receiving River Reflections via the US Postal Service on Thursdays, mail subscribers will now find their copy in their mailboxes on Fridays.

Digital subscribers, though, will continue to get their weekly McKenzie River community news, history and gardening columns, police reports and event updates on Tuesdays.

Show your support for River Reflections - send your email today - to [email protected].


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