(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following announcement was written by Brian Barnes, Vice-President of Elwood Publishing Co., Inc., publisher of The Call-Leader.)
Life is change. Change has come, once again, to The Call-Leader. Friday, December 3rd was the last edition of the paper we will ever print on our own press. This is very emotional for me and my family, and I actually teared up, when I saw the last edition still on the press, and I realized this is the end of an era for us and for the community.
After 80 years, we have reached a crossroads. After taking a few weeks to thoroughly evaluate our options, and in light of the failure of a key piece of equipment, it makes no sense for us to continue to print the Call-Leader ourselves. It is currently being printed by very capable new partners in Greenfield.
I wrote to you in this paper in early March 2020 to explain major, unprecedented changes we were making at that time, mainly the transition to mail delivery. At that time, we were being proactive, and we thought those changes would put us on a solid footing for YEARS to come. Little did we know what was about to happen.
We all know what began in March 2020. All of our lives have changed in previously unimaginable ways and continue to be impacted to this day by the COVID-19 pandemic, like some waking nightmare that just won’t seem to end. Small papers, like all small businesses, have been hit hard by the pandemic and continue to struggle.
Thank goodness we made those changes when we did, or we would not have made it this far. We would have closed our doors long before now. But instead of putting us on a solid footing, those changes have simply allowed us to keep our heads above water. We know we are not alone in this. This is the reality we must face, and so it’s time to make some more changes.
We are proud and excited to announce today ANOTHER New Beginning for The Call-Leader, your local newspaper. We are re-dedicating ourselves yet again to serving the Elwood community and surrounding area.
• Effective January 3, 2022, we will begin publishing two printed editions per week, instead of five. You will continue to receive a printed paper on Tuesday and Friday. We firmly believe the two papers you continue to receive will be better in many ways. We will be able to provide a better product overall.
• We are not cutting our News payroll by one penny. We have always been committed to bringing you as much local news, sports and information as possible, as timely as possible, as well as all of the great special sections we publish… and that commitment is unwavering. That is our core mission. We will still be here every day, Monday – Friday.
• We will still be generating the same amount of local content. But we will be concentrating the same amount of local news, local sports and local information into two papers per week. These two papers will most likely be bigger, thicker papers, many times with more pages.
• You may have already noticed the paper looks a little better, a little cleaner, due to more state of the art equipment in Greenfield
• We have also dramatically expanded our ability to print photos and other content in color, and we will now be running color photos on the front and back pages every day.
• We will be rolling back our subscription rates substantially. Next time you renew your subscription, you will do so at much lower rates, but you will still be getting the same amount of local content, if not more. How often these days do prices go down on anything? Please spread the word.
• If you are a pre-paid subscriber, there is nothing to worry about, nothing you need to do, we have already automatically extended your subscription, based on how much time you had left. Because we have only been printing 3 editions per week since the beginning of December, we added back a full month to everybody’s subscription. Then, we DOUBLED the amount of time left on your subscription.
We want to encourage everybody to take advantage of access to our website that is included FREE of charge in your subscription to the newspaper.
We will be placing much greater emphasis on the website as the place you can find the most up to date information about what’s going on in Elwood. Reliable news and information published by seasoned professional journalists.
We will be moving to a “web-first” policy, when it comes to publishing local news, which means individual stories and articles will be posted to our website immediately, as soon as they are written and before they go into the printed paper. Then, twice a week, we will gather all the content we have created into a printed edition for posterity.
In between Tuesdays and Fridays, we will prioritize breaking news, sports, obituaries and other time-sensitive information for posting to the website, and we will make greater use of social media to make sure you don’t miss anything important. This is all new to us, so please be patient with us as we adjust. This will be a “work in process”.
If there is major breaking news story, it will be posted to the website the moment we finish writing it, and we will let you know about it. When we finish typing up an obituary, we will post it right away, and we will let you know. No matter what time we finish writing the story about the local game you’re counting on us to cover, you will be able to read it online. We will let you know.
If you do not currently have access to all the content on our website, please call or come in, and we will get you set up.
We appreciate your loyalty. We are so glad you have stuck with us all of these years. We want you to continue to stick with us. Not only that, we want you to tell all your friends and family members, really everybody you know, that they should subscribe to The Call-Leader, if they currently do not.
Stay tuned for new opportunities to engage with the Call-Leader and to help support what we do. In the coming weeks and months, we are planning to announce opportunities for individuals to sponsor the paper in acknowledgement of special occasions for family, loved ones and friends.
I am so very proud of everybody who works so hard to bring you the Call-Leader. Some of them have been with us for 30, 40, 50 years or more.
There are no words sufficient to express my gratitude to these people. I just want to say Thank You to all of them. We would not even be here today to make this announcement without them. Cindy Tyner, in particular, has shown great leadership in the past few years. Effective immediately, Cindy Tyner is the General Manager of Elwood Publishing Co., Inc. This is the role she has played. Now she has the title to acknowledge this. Please join me in congratulating her.
It is my responsibility to make sure The Call-Leader is around in the future, as long as possible, in some relevant form and fashion to do what we do, to document what happens here in Elwood, the life and history of THIS community and everyone who makes it their home. This is our mission. This remains our top priority.
Most communities our size consider themselves lucky to have a weekly newspaper, if they do. We have remained committed to providing Elwood with a daily newspaper for as long as we possibly could. Now we are committing ourselves to providing Elwood with the best semi-weekly (twice weekly) newspaper and the best local news website we can possibly produce.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the Elwood community by publishing your local newspaper. This is something we do not take lightly. It is our great honor and privilege to serve this community for over 80 years. We are profoundly grateful and humbled by your support.