The West Central Tribune announced early in June some upcoming changes to how the newspaper delivers our content and advertising product to readers. It is all part of our efforts to evolve in a changing digital world of media, business and technology in the 2020s decade.
In recent years, more and more readers have been gravitating to our digital content platforms. As part of this readership growth, now more than 75 percent of our wctrib.com readers are consuming Tribune content via their mobile phones and tablets.
That is why it is important for readers and subscribers to visit wctrib.com/activate and create a digital registration on our website. Print and digital subscribers have full access to all content on all Forum Communications Co. websites, such as Alexandria Echo Press, Brainerd Dispatch, Duluth News Tribune, The Forum of Fargo/Moorhead and Rochester Post Bulletin. Subscribers also gain access to our specialty media sites, including The Rink Live, Northland Outdoors and AgWeek.
The change within the newspaper industry has been constant over the past two decades. Fortunately, our family ownership at Forum Communications Co. has consistently made the necessary investments in personnel, technology, infrastructure and digital strategies to prepare for the future.
In 2019, the company invested in a new content management system and the Tribune launched an updated wctrib.com in July. This spring, the Tribune moved to an improved e-paper platform, a digital replica of the print newspaper format. And the newspaper introduced news and sports newsletters that are delivered right to readers’ email each weekday if they wish. Finally, member subscribers can sign up for news alerts to be sent to them whenever major breaking news occurs.
Since September 2018, the Tribune has been publishing a print edition Tuesday through Saturday, an e-paper six days per week and publishing content on wctrib.com seven days a week. Producing a print edition five days a week and delivering it to your household across Kandiyohi County and six other counties in west central Minnesota is a challenging and expensive task.
To remain a viable business, the Tribune needs both strong print and digital subscribers and advertisers. The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has made a major impact on economic conditions across west central Minnesota for all businesses, including the Tribune.
Coming in July, the Tribune will reduce its print edition days to Wednesday and Saturday and our carrier delivery system will end. Starting on July 8, the Tribune will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service with your mail delivery on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
We are also making improvements to our e-edition newspaper. This week we increased our Home and Abroad pages in our e-paper edition to four pages, providing significantly more news content daily.
In conjunction with the July changes, the newspaper will be making a few content moves in our print edition.
The newspaper’s health page, currently printed on Tuesday, will be moved to Wednesdays, starting July 8 and will be renamed NewsMD.
Our business page, now published Wednesday, will move to Saturdays, beginning July 11.
Our real estate content, published on Friday, will move to the Wednesday print edition, starting July 8.
The daily crossword puzzle and sudoku puzzle will continue to be published Monday through Saturday in our respective print and e-paper editions.
And in mid-July, we will be adding more content to our e-paper edition each day, including a Sunday e-edition.
The Tribune is making these necessary changes to adjust our operation and continue covering our communities through this new decade. We remain committed to community journalism, just as the West Central Tribune has been for 125 years.
Our news coverage is not changing. Our content delivery method is just evolving to meet the digital preference of our readers. Our newsroom is committed to continuing our day-to-day sports coverage — from local high schools to Minnesota’s college and professional sports teams — and news of importance to you and your families and communities in west central Minnesota.
Thank you for your continued readership and support of the West Central Tribune.
Kelly Boldan has been the editor of the West Central Tribune of Willmar since 2001 and was previously the editor at the Bemidji Pioneer.