The Splash of tomorrow
Yes, the ink-on-paper Splash you are currently holding in your hands is switching to monthly distribution. That's the short of it. The long of it … well, read on.
1. When and where can I find The Splash?
• Timely in your inbox - City Council stories and breaking news will be distributed as soon as the story is written through email distribution and online at www.libertylakesplash.com. Be sure to stay in touch with timely stories as they happen; sign up to receive these emails. The simple format will allow you to manage your e-subscription, including unsubscribing with ease should you ever move out of town.
• Stay connected through social media - The Splash Facebook and Twitter accounts are a great place to stay connected as well. Whether it's a reminder for a community event or taking the pulse of the community on an important issue, make sure you "like" The Splash on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @LLSplash.
2. What is changing?
• Out: Classifieds, legals and some weekly features - Classified advertising is one item that makes a lot less sense from a monthly perspective. We will be taking down our classifieds page effective Monday at noon. While it's no longer the staple of newspapers it once was, we will certainly miss being able to provide this local service. Also gone will be legal notices (state law requires a publishing frequency of at least once a week to print these) and weekly access to our regular features such as puzzles, police reports and calendars - although these items will be both reinvented on a monthly cycle and some may show up through e-venues based upon reader requests and timeliness.
3. Better than ever? Please explain.
• Special sections featuring content tailored to local residents, whether it's an in-depth look at the growth of the medical sector or a special 40th anniversary look at the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District;
• An upgraded and reimagined Liberty Lake Community Directory;
• Topical coverage and community discussions on Liberty Lake's role in the greater community through the One Valley Initiative, a special series focusing on growing business, tackling issues of local poverty, improving health and wellness and exploring and expanding access to innovative educational opportunities for our residents;
• More purposeful opportunities to highlight the accomplishments and hear the perspectives of local kids - and kids at heart;
• Added depth to our coverage of local government;
• And a whole lot more … stay tuned!
Imagining the future of The Splash
Why we're making these changes now, and why we believe they're for the better
And so I literally chewed for a while on the decisions spelled out on these pages. Here at The Splash, we have some priorities and desires for taking the way we live our mission to "inform, connect and inspire" in Liberty Lake in new and exciting directions, but resource wise, we can't do it if we maintain a weekly ink-on-paper publishing cycle.
Believe me, I wanted to eat this cake. AND I wanted to maintain possession of the cake for future consumption. You mean this isn't possible?
Not for what we have in mind, no.
Since coming to The Splash approximately 450 consecutive weekly issues ago, I have been part of several discussions where we weigh our priorities, where we fine-tune our mission and identity - and then proceed to make decisions that will allow us to best serve the community of Liberty Lake.
So what are the priorities that have caused us to move toward the "programming changes" spelled out on this page? Four main factors stood out.
3. Connecting with readers:
4. Connecting with advertisers:
While these are the key priorities we are following in making these changes, I think it's worth reemphasizing that these are specific to our publication. Community newspapers, weekly or otherwise, remain great businesses, and they will continue to be as long as there are people out there who want to see the names and faces of their friends, family and neighbors in the paper and learn more about the important issues of their hometown. We are not the type of newspapers you may have read about who are competing with Fox News and CNN and the dot-coms. For a variety of reasons, far-off competitors will never be best positioned to tackle neighborhood news.
Like any business, community newspapers have been impacted financially by the economy, but not to the point that we have to cease publishing weekly because of it. In its history, The Splash has been published weekly with just one or two full-time workers, and I was just reading another community newspaper today at which the owner is the sole employee. He does it every week by himself. It is possible; it's just not the way we believe we can live out our mission statement best for this community we love - and at the level of quality we are aiming to provide.
Moving forward, we will continue to get you that which is most timely in an even more timely manner (don't forget to share that email address with us here). Everything else ... well, let's just say we think you're going to love the way we will be able to improve the way we deliver everything else. If you are the type who likes to wait by the mailbox, plan to greet your postman Feb. 28.
Josh Johnson is editor and publisher of The Splash. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.