DAVID BROWN: Journal rolls with the changes

   Observant readers of the Andrews Journal should have noticed a few changes in your local newspaper over the last month.

   Some of those changes are very positive. For example, we have the capability to print more than twice as many color advertisements and photos in each edition. And your address is printed on the front page instead of being attached to a label that could come off during mail delivery.

   However, in all honesty, a couple of those changes haven’t been so positive. We’ve been on the streets and in stores later than we would like every week. A handful of subscribers in some areas didn’t even receive their newspaper for a week or two.

   Our associates are working hard to overcome these challenges as quickly as possible, and we’ve just about got it all figured out.

   These changes were necessary because the Journal, as well as the five other area newspapers I oversee – the Cherokee Scout, Clay County Progress, The Graham Star, The News Observer in Blue Ridge, Ga., and the Times-Courier in Ellijay, Ga. – now print at Community Newspapers Inc.’s press plant in Franklin. The Murphy plant had first-class associates and served our community well for more than half a century, but it was in need of a new building and significant press improvements.

   In today’s economic times, that just didn’t make sense. So our home office made the difficult decision to move printing to Franklin, which has a more updated press plant and is only an hour away, effective Oct. 1. Since they already printed six newspapers weekly, fitting in six more means some deadlines have had to change.

   While the majority of folks sending things to us submit their items early, we don’t want anything to not be printed in time. If something falls between the cracks, please let us know about it ASAP. Don’t delay; we want to get your news published just as badly as you want to see it in the local newspaper.

   Two of our former associates are now working in Franklin, while a few others retired. If one of the other folks who used to work at the Scout Press Plant submits an application at your business, just give me a call for a good reference.

   Led by press foreman Jimmy Robinson, one of the nicest and hardest-working guys you’ll ever meet, we had an excellent crew who served the area well for many years.

   This kind of move is not unusual in the newspaper industry today. None of my affiliate newspapers have ever had their own press. Neither have newspapers from Bryson City and Sylva to Blairsville and Hiawassee, Ga. The Asheville Citizen-Times doesn’t even print in Asheville anymore. I was spoiled in Murphy.

   However, rest assured that your local newspaper still will be written and produced by people who live and work in Cherokee County. This is simply an effort to be more efficient with our printing.

   A new report on theconversation.com says local newspapers may be experiencing a renaissance, in large part because we provide a sense of community. Newspapers also act as a check on those in power, create an informed citizenry and encourage civic engagement, which the Journal accomplished last month with political debates in Andrews.

   Thanks for bearing with us during this time of change. When we come out of the other side, we’ll have an even stronger newspaper by being relentlessly local. What matters to you is important to us. And as always, thanks for reading.

   David Brown is publisher of the Andrews Journal. You can reach him by phone, 837-5122; fax, 837-5832; email, publisher@myandrewsjournal.com; or follow on Twitter @daviddBstroh.

The Andrews Journal

Mailing Address:
995 Main St., Nantahala Suite
Andrews, NC 28901
Phone: 828-321-4271
Fax: 828-321-5890