You’ll notice something when you go out to pick up your fresh issue of Triad City Beat on Thursday: There isn’t one.
A couple months ago we made the decision to print every other week instead of every week — a big deal for all concerned. It roughly halves our print, distribution and design expenses, but it also deprives our readers of their weekly print fix.
So why did we do it?
The decision came largely as a result of our Table Stakes training, the yearlong media transformation course in which we are currently enrolled through the Knight Foundation and the UNC-Chapel Hill Hussmann School of Journalism. In order to make way for new change, we have learned, it’s important to “stop doing” some of the things we always thought we needed to do.
Another factor was a dramatic shift in our readership that began at the onset of the pandemic: We now have more readers online than in print, most weeks by a ratio of 3-to-1. This ties into another thing we’ve learned through Table Stakes: We must reach readers where we are.
Then many papers we admire, including the INDY in the Triangle, switched to this schedule, which brought us one step closer to pulling the trigger.
The final piece came through former Chicago Reader Publisher Tracy Baim, a legend in alternative-media circles. You never want to lose print altogether, she told us. “Print is the great democratizer,” she said, available without strings, anonymously, without need for a device or a data subscription. But she assured us that every other week was enough to keep us in front of readers.
Losing a couple weeks of print a month frees up some revenue, which will go towards more original content from our stable of writers. But it also gives Sayaka and me one full day every other week that was previously devoted to production, which can be time consuming. Sayaka plans on using the time to do more reporting, which in this market is surely needed. I’m using mine to concentrate on revenue-generating activity like selling ads and recruiting partners in our mission to be the primary news source for the Triad.
There will be some adjusting. I, for one, have been on the weekly grind for more than 20 years, if you include my time with Triad Style that began way back in 2001. But the business is changing, and we’re changing with it.What won’t change is the steady stream of reliable news from your friends at TCB. Check our website every day for fresh content, and sign up for our newsletters to stay on top of what we’re doing with all that free time.
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