Over the last year, the world as we all know it has changed. The coronavirus pandemic has become a factor in our daily lives.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Minnesota in March 2020, businesses across west central Minnesota dramatically altered their normal operations.
Our newspaper — the West Central Tribune — was not immune in the pandemic. Our newspaper was forced to make necessary changes to stabilize our business and make product improvements
- A year ago, our company asked all employees to work remotely who could and limited access to our newsrooms.
- With decreased advertising demand, the company eliminated some ad production positions last April.
- In July, the West Central Tribune reduced the days the print edition is published to Wednesday and Saturday.
- Also in July, we moved our print newspaper delivery to the U.S. Postal Service.
- In September, we moved our printing to a Forum Communications Printing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which requires an earlier 7 p.m. print deadline.
- And our company closed our printing press operation here in Willmar.
However, the West Central Tribune has continued its commitment to our readers and making product improvements.
The pandemic has accelerated the movement of readers away from print content to digital content — reading on their mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer.
In late 2020, we added 10-plus pages of topical and national news and sports to our epaper edition seven days a week.
And this year, we added a new and improved app on the Android and Apple platforms for wctrib.com and an app for our epaper edition.
And our sports department is still producing local sports coverage published on multiple platforms. With an early print deadline, the night before print editions, the sports team is now producing Sports Extra pages with a later deadline for local evening sports coverage in our epaper and wctrib.com.
The essence of our newsroom's storytelling has never been about the newsprint upon which it was printed. Newsprint has never told the stories of our readers but was only the historical delivery vehicle of the times.
Our newsroom and Forum News Service's storytelling is now delivered digitally in many forms — words, pictures, audio, electronic documents, digital maps, video and still on newsprint. And our news staffers are delivering that storytelling seven days a week.
The West Central Tribune and Forum Communications are working to make your digital experiences friendlier and response times better when there is a reader issue. Our websites recently introduced a new logon procedure to provide a one-time login to all of our company's websites.
We appreciate our loyal readers — both print and digital. We are part of our Willmar and west central Minnesota communities. We will continue stiving provide our readers the news and information of importance across multiple platforms.
Thank you for reading the West Central Tribune.