At 75 cents, paper's still a bargain, chock full of local news
How many products cost the same as 17 years ago? I can't think of any -- except this newspaper. Last week when I asked, folks at the News Tribune couldn't remember the last time we raised our cover price. So I did a little digging in our archives...
How many products cost the same as 17 years ago?
I can't think of any -- except this newspaper.
Last week when I asked, folks at the News Tribune couldn't remember the last time we raised our cover price. So I did a little digging in our archives and found it -- Aug. 5, 1991, when our single-copy rate went to 50 cents from 35 cents.
Remember 1991? U.S. troops were fighting the Persian Gulf War. The Soviet Union collapsed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 3,000 for the first time. The Twins won the World Series, and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" hit No. 1.
Don't even ask what we were wearing.
Seventeen years is a long time. But starting Monday, we'll raise the cover price of the News Tribune for the first time since 1991, to 75 cents.
We'll hear from some of you. Who likes paying more for anything? We've held the line for quite a while. But, as at other companies, the cost of bringing you our product has risen considerably in more than a decade and a half. We need to take steps to ensure we continue as a healthy business so we can provide an important service -- news -- for years to come.
Recently, the price of newsprint rose dramatically. It's expected to climb even higher in 2009. We all know what's happened to the price of gasoline and diesel, which fuels the cars and trucks that deliver the paper. And salaries of those who report and edit the news, sell advertising and produce the News Tribune have risen, too.
So starting tomorrow, we'll ask for an extra quarter Mondays through Saturdays. We won't raise the price of the Sunday paper. It will still be $1.50.
If you get the paper at the newsstand or in the honor box, you can save yourself a trip -- and money -- by signing up for home delivery. Yep, we'll bring the paper to your door for a lot less -- up to 58 percent less -- than the newsstand price. Call our circulation department at 723-5252. Tell 'em you saw it here.
Price, of course, is only part of the buying equation. Whenever we plunk down cash for goods or services, we weigh the cost with the value we receive. At 75 cents, the daily News Tribune is a tremendous bargain.
For three quarters, you get a comprehensive report about happenings in your community, across the country and around the world -- news, features, sports, photos. You get puzzles and games, columns and lottery numbers. The horoscope. You get classified, retail and insert ads that tell you what's on sale and where to buy.
Last week, I experienced the power of newspaper advertising. I put a small ad in our classified section to sell a children's outdoor play set that my kids had long outgrown. Within a few days it was gone -- sold at the asking price to one of a half dozen potential buyers who saw the ad in the paper.
That little ad was powerful. For our buyer, it was powerful, too. The family had a need. The daily newspaper filled it.
Some of our readers will ask why we're charging a higher price after our recent decision to suspend two feature sections. The newspaper changes with the news, but its content also must change with the times. Content comes and goes, depending on reader preferences and advertiser support. The decisions are tough, but we're always trying to produce the best package for you.
It's easy to romanticize about the good ol' days, but in our offices, I regularly see the News Tribunes of the past. This much is absolutely true: We're giving you more local news now. That's the information you depend upon us to provide -- and that you can't get, in equal quality or volume, anywhere else.
The News Tribune will keep evolving. No business can stand still and succeed. We're committed to serving our community for the long haul.
And if we can keep our cover price the same for 17 years again, we'll consider that another amazing accomplishment.
ROB KARWATH is executive editor of the News Tribune. You can reach him at 218-720-4177 or email@example.com .