Opinion & Editorial

Ready for liftoff

By the time you’re reading this, we’ll be one week from a significant change in our paper’s history – and one month away from our 110th birthday!
In my first column nearly six months ago, I laid out a vision for the paper, our website and seasonal magazines. We conducted a readership survey in March and April, and I’ve certainly chatted face-to-face with numerous people in and around Creswell.
We’ve been making changes and tweaking things here and there as we learn more about what readers want, and the way they want it delivered. We’ve added staff members, including people with in-depth knowledge of the area to ensure we stay true to our biggest promise: hyperlocal coverage.
We’ve remodeled the newsroom with the intent of making it a social gathering place, and the big, round table has been host to many conversations with readers, visitors and friends. I’ve met many four-legged friends here too, and we keep a hefty amount of dog snacks in the newsroom.
We’ve upgraded our computers, software licenses and other technology so the staff can work more efficiently, and spend more time focused on the people and businesses of our area.
A week ago, I was inducted into the Cottage Grove Rotary. Last Tuesday, I spoke at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s “Greeters breakfast” about expansion into Springfield. I’m a member of the Creswell Chamber of Commerce and on its Board of Directors. My wife Dee Dee and I have participated in community initiatives and charity events.
And, now, we’re all going to be part of something significant together.
Next week, with the Aug. 29 edition, we’ll reveal:
The Chronicle – a new name for the paper based in Creswell and super-serving our readers here.
We’re increasing the number of papers printed weekly, from 1,300 to more than 3,000 – distributed from Cottage Grove to Springfield.
Expanded coverage of Springfield. We’re going to label The Chronicle with “Springfield” for the homes and businesses with that city’s zip codes.
We’re going to dedicate the middle four pages of each week’s paper to Springfield coverage, so Springfield readers have an easy pullout section.
We’ve already launched a must-read page each week called Go2, highlighting all the cool events happening in the area. We’ve instituted free Classified listings; we’re the paper of “yes”: you want something listed, we’ll do it – for free.
Among other features we’re soon to launch are:
– A “Tribute” page dedicated to remembering our loved ones with obituaries, photos and special content. We want to open that up to people who have lost “fur babies” as well.
– “Scene & Heard” is our new entertainment section, focusing on local-area music and musicians.
– Expanded coverage of Creswell High School sports and other activities.
– A weekly Oregon Ducks sports package for the week ahead.
In many ways, Aug. 29 is our relaunch, ushering in a new era for The Chronicle.
Still, we know our roots and we want to celebrate them, too. The first edition of The Creswell Chronicle was Sept. 30, 1909. That means we’re celebrating our 110th birthday this September. The Creswell Historical Society graciously has offered its help as The Chronicle will feature a different era of the city’s history during each week of September.
Our paper is trying to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom that says “print newspapers are dead.” It’s true that the industry has undergone a seismic shift. Resources are too costly for daily newspapers to collect the kind of hyperlocal content that requires old-fashioned shoe leather and personal relationships.
Their business model – leaner operations with automation and content that is a commodity – is proving to under-serve readers, although it’s been pretty good for the big venture capitalists and corporations that own most newspapers today.
The fact is, that approach has created an opportunity for us. The Chronicle, the people of Creswell and the southern Willamette Valley, have a bond and a social contract together. We give you credible information with journalistic integrity. Old-fashioned, trustworthy journalism, uplifting stories of triumph and character about our friends and family, neighbors helping neighbors.
All of that comes with costs, of course. We’re not a nonprofit; we’re open for business, as is our community of growing entrepreneurs and small business owners.
We’ve increased the cost of the paper from 75 cents to $1 for single copies, and new annual subscriptions will reflect the increase as of Sept. 1, 2019. And while part of The Chronicle’s appeal is our low costs for advertising and Legal Notices, those will be seeing reasonable across-the-board increases, too.
We know you want value for your money, which is one of the reasons we’ve made so many upgrades. We hope you’ll agree that The Chronicle provides value to your daily life. And we hope you’ll continue to be a part of helping us get better every day.



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