WILLMAR - For decades, the West Central Tribune has been publishing and delivering a newspaper six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Our commitment to continue to deliver the news to you each day remains as strong as ever. We remain the leading news and information source in our region.
However, beginning Sept. 17, we no longer will be printing a Monday edition of the newspaper. Tribune reporters will still cover the news and create a Monday edition for you to read. It will be delivered to subscribers electronically, and looks just like the print edition.
This decision has been considered thoroughly over the past several months and was ultimately driven by two key factors.
First, rapid increases in newsprint prices, driven by recent and substantial tariffs. This has caused a 30 percent increase in material costs, with no clear end in rising newsprint prices. This increase has driven similar changes in publication cycles across the newspaper industry. In Minnesota, the Post Bulletin in Rochester adopted a five-day schedule earlier this year.
Second, declines in advertising revenue are a reality of the changes in our industry. In recent years, Willmar has experienced the closing of three major retail stores.
I know this decision will not be popular, and I get it. We are making moves that reduce costs that will allow us to produce a quality product. This is the new way to sustainability and the future. It's a hard reality, but it is just true.
Subscribers may be wondering how this will affect delivery rates. We don't plan to reduce rates because of the change. Our rates have not changed or been increased since 2013. We'll still provide news and information six days a week - the Monday edition will be delivered digitally. All subscribers have 24-hour access to the e-edition of our newspaper that includes up to 10 pages of expanded USA Today news and sports content seven days a week.
Up-to-the-minute news is also available on the Tribune's website (www.wctrib.com), and a new and improved website will debut later this fall.
A newspaper is so incredibly important to a city and the region, not just for its watchdog journalism but also for its community boosterism. We strive to do both and will continue to be the daily recorder of history in west central Minnesota. The best way we can do that now and into the future is with these changes. Although the platform on which you receive your news may evolve, our mission of telling and reporting the stories will never change.
My hope is that readers will understand and, after this initial shock wears off, you'll stay with us.
Thank you for reading and supporting the West Central Tribune.
Steve Ammermann can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 320-214-4307.