As a kid, I hoarded newspapers marking events I found to be important.
First, there was the great Major League Baseball home run chase of 1998, with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in a neck-and-neck race to break Roger Maris’ all-time homerun record. On Sept. 12, 2001, I bought a copy of every single newspaper I could find, storing news of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. away in my room with other newspapers as somewhat of a time capsule to rediscover later in life.
There’s always been something special about holding a day or week’s worth of news in my hands.
These days, the majority of Americans are getting their news off a screen, whether its a desktop computer or, more commonly than ever, a smartphone.
At our flagship website, yelmonline.com, our analytics show that a full 80 percent of people who read our news online do so on a phone. While a weekly newspaper still satisfies the need for information in comprehensive fashion, it almost always lacks the timeliness of news published electronically.
People want the news where they are, no matter where that is.
That’s why we at the Nisqually Valley News have undergone something of a paradigm shift in the last month. Rather than wait to publish our news online after our print edition hits mailboxes — a longstanding practice for many weeklies — we’re updating our web presence throughout the week as the news happens.
The idea is to become an online daily and a print weekly, and I think we’re close to making that a reality.
In just a few short weeks, we’ve reaped the benefits of this new policy, with our number of page views nearly tripling as our subscribers and others race to read the latest news at yelmonline.com. We had 62,000 active users in May, with an average of 22,000 users a week and 2,200 a day.
That’s impressive for a community of our size, and we hope to see those numbers climb even higher as we continue to improve and expand our online coverage.
Sharing or saving an internet link doesn’t carry the same nostalgia or excitement for me as the print edition does, but it is nonetheless the way the world is moving, and we plan to move with it.
Our print subscribers are offered free access to our website. Those who aren’t yet supporting our local journalism are allowed six free articles before being asked to subscribe.
I’d encourage anyone who supports the mission of the Nisqually Valley News — to report the news that’s important and highlight the people and places that make our area special — to consider supporting us with a subscription. At just $27 a year for 52 print editions and unlimited online access, it’s a real steal. And becoming a subscriber means you’re helping us support local youth, businesses and organizations while allowing us to conduct the watchdog and public service reporting newspapers are known for.
Read us in print. Read us on your computer. Read us on your cellphone.
Whatever you do, just read us. It’s the best way to stay informed, and I am a big believer that a strong community newspaper is a mark of a strong community.
Eric Schwartz is regional executive editor of the Lafromboise Communications, the company that owns the Nisqually Valley News, The Chronicle in Centralia and The Reflector in Clark County. He works out of Yelm daily and encourages you to drop into the office for a visit. Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-960-1615.