The News-Review celebrated a birthday last month. It turned 147, a number that isn’t particularly significant until you stop and think about that for a second.
“Holy cow,” I muttered, as we shared some birthday cake with the crew on April 30. “That’s a long time.”
Two world wars, a Great Depression, an explosion that ripped through downtown Roseburg. Korea, Vietnam, several so-called “recessions,” 9/11 and the slow, painful torture of a timber industry that helped build this community.
Thousands of great employees and tens of thousands of loyal customers have helped keep the doors to this institution open for nearly a century and a half.
With time comes change, and change — as difficult as it can be — also provides opportunity. Business survival depends on the ability to step back and re-evaluate, to make adjustments and move forward.
When I arrived in Roseburg almost two years ago I couldn’t help notice that we didn’t have a Saturday edition.
I know … duh.
On the other hand, we had a Monday edition that wasn’t doing too well because, I suppose, most people just don’t like Mondays.
There’s a reason there is no “TGI Mondays” restaurant chain. Outside of Monday Night Football, Mondays have never been much to write home about.
I’ll take a Saturday over a Monday any day of the week (I can’t help myself). In fact, Saturdays are my all-time favorite days. For starters, I wake up knowing the next day is Sunday, which may be my second-favorite day.
I grab my cup of coffee and think about my to-do list, which mostly includes lawn mowers, chicken feed, dogs, gardens, weed-whackers and trips to the hardware stores.
If my list is blank I think about hiking trails, the gym, trips to the coast, beer festivals, or beer with no festival. The choices are difficult, but much more entertaining than those I face on Mondays.
So, starting June 14, The News-Review will publish Saturday mornings instead of Monday afternoons.
And before you run screaming for the medicine cabinet, allow me to elaborate a bit more.
This decision to publish Saturdays instead of Mondays actually has some thought behind it. The idea isn’t just to publish any old Saturday paper, mind you. From May through Labor Day weekend, the Saturday morning edition will be called Summer Saturday and will feel like a Saturday ought to feel — a lot more relaxed than a Monday.
It will feature weekend activities, home improvement content, garage sales and weekend sports. When fall arrives we’ll transition to Sports Saturday, with a focus on Friday night high school football results and advance stories on the Ducks and Beavers and other college and professional weekend sports.
Don’t worry, the Saturday edition will also include news from the county, state, nation and world. Crooks and politicians need their names in Saturday papers, too.
The digital world is changing the definition of “news.” It no longer waits for the paper to hit the porch or newsstand. Last I checked there were 1.4 billion smartphones in the world, and if it’s national or international news you’re looking for, the Saturday edition won’t tell you anything you probably don’t already know.
Our website, www.nrtoday.com, allows us to break news as it happens, so our print product content strategy recognizes the nuances of the two mediums.
We’ll continue our coverage of local business and the folks who pay most of the community’s bills. The Money Monday content will move to a business section inside the Sunday paper. We think it’s important to spotlight our local small businesses that need all the help they can get these days.
I was at a conference in Colorado last week where I had an opportunity to peek into the future, through the eyes of a fellow named Bob Johansen, who works with — yep, the Institute For The Future.
It’s basically one of those think tanks where they spend all day pondering what the world will be like when our kids and our kids’ kids grow up. There is good and bad news on that horizon. I’ll save the gory details for another day.
Johansen reminded me that we are storytellers and that stories are the keys to engagement. “Our brains are wired for stories,” he said.
Saturday’s stories, then, need to be about Saturdays. I’d like the paper to feel like a Saturday — fun, lively, entertaining. You have all day Monday to be depressed.
Change is never easy, but I’m one of those guys who would rather help shape the future than wait to be shaped. This information business is a tricky one, and who knows where it’s all headed. We made it to 147 and I suspect some never thought that possible.
What I do know is that Saturday is WAY better than Monday, and I hope you agree.
Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or email@example.com.