It was an innocent enough comment, but it got me to thinking, and to acting.
On Thanksgiving week last year, we were asked to print our paper a day early, on Monday morning instead of Tuesday morning, so the printer could get all of its week’s work done before the Thursday holiday. That also meant our papers went out a day earlier than usual.
A couple of weeks later, a friend told me in passing that his mother told him, “I got my paper on Wednesday this week. Usually, I get it on Thursday.”
It was a happy remark, one I’d like to hear more often.
When we first started the paper in September 2021, I naively thought mailing papers on Tuesday would get them to customers on Wednesdays. And by waiting until Tuesday, I’d have Mondays to get later news (the occasional commissioners meeting that would be better to have the week of or some big news or sports event, even a late obit or two).
Mail-wise, some folks did get them on Wednesdays, but many got them on Thursdays. On bad delivery weeks, those days were even later. As for the late-breaking news or a Monday morning obit, maybe a dozen times in our first 125 newspapers did that come into play.
So, after the holiday delivery woes we experienced in December and January, and the fact the biggest (often only) complaint we get is about the inconsistency of print delivery, I’ve come to the conclusion that people would rather just have their paper as close to on time as possible over whether a story from Monday makes it in that week instead of the next.
So, beginning with the Feb. 21 paper, we will be printing every week on Monday mornings instead of Tuesday mornings. Papers will go to the Greensboro post office around noon on Mondays. The hope is that the bulk of customers will be getting their papers on Wednesday, and some of you may even start getting them on Tuesdays.
And, of course, the latest edition is always available by Tuesday for individual purchase at the Ready Marts in Randolph County (3 in Asheboro, 1 in Randleman, 1 in Seagrove) and at Brightside Gallery in downtown Asheboro.
For content purposes, that means earlier deadlines all around. For anything that anyone hopes to get in press release wise for the following week’s paper, that material has to be in or sent to email@example.com by the Friday before. It means I can only take obits now through Sunday at 2 p.m. instead of Monday at noon. It means we’ll be making more regular use of our website and social media for stories that need to be out sooner instead of holding them for the next edition.
But, most importantly, hopefully the change will lead to even happier Hub customers. And that’s always the goal.
- Ray Criscoe is the owner / publisher / editor of Randolph Hub. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.