Longtime readers might remember when your Telegraph Herald dropped on the doorstep in the afternoon every weekday. Does that seem like a long time ago when the TH made the switch to every-morning publication?
Well, we’ve reached a milestone. While the newspaper celebrates our 185th anniversary in 2021, this week marks a quarter century since we converted to morning publication every weekday. The Sunday edition always has come out in the morning, and when Saturday publication resumed in 1988, that went onto the morning cycle. But for decades, readers were used to an afternoon paper during the typical work week.
When we made the switch on Sept. 16, 1996, we were not industry trendsetters. Plenty of newspapers switched from afternoon to morning publication in the 1980s. The reason was to provide readers with a fresher product, first thing in the day, so the paper could be read at the customer’s convenience, not according to our schedule. With societal changes — including more and more evening events for active families — we knew that a paper delivered by 5 p.m. was not necessarily convenient for a growing segment of our customer base.
In mid-1995, we announced the intention to switch to morning in 1996. The announcement set off a flurry of complaints and threats from subscribers who vowed to cancel their subscriptions. Others predicted that we would not be publishing by 1997. Other readers, particularly those who moved here from morning-newspaper communities, welcomed the change.
Well, we’re still here, and our readers have come to expect and appreciate being able to start their day with the TH. Beyond that, now our readers expect to be able to get the freshest news from us at any time of day.
Twenty-five years ago, morning conversion was the biggest change in delivery of news to our readers that I had ever been through. I had no idea how many changes were on the horizon.
Today, we have the benefit of our website, through which we reach tens of thousands of readers every day. When news happens, we have multiple ways to get it in front of readers no matter the time of day. More than 15,000 customers receive our breaking news and news alert emails. That way, news is delivered to them via email when it happens. We use social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to extend our reach even further. In the months ahead, I see us expanding our platforms to include texting and push notifications as more and more readers gravitate toward digital means of getting news and staying informed. We’ll provide more video, both live and on-demand, as well as expanding our app, which includes audio capability. The possibilities are really exciting.
Of course, our print product is still vitally important to us and to our readers. We underscored that commitment earlier this year when we moved our printing operation from Cedar Rapids to our company’s own Woodward Printing Services in Platteville, Wis. I still hear comments regularly from readers who appreciate the sharp photos, clear type and overall quality of the newspaper printed right here in the tri-states.
Changes, sometimes major ones, are part of our ever-evolving industry. Reflecting on the change made 25 years ago, I’m glad readers hung with us and adapted. We’ll keep looking for ways to improve our products and services, and as always, we appreciate your support.