EDITOR'S NOTE: The following column was published in Wednesday's Norwalk Reflector:
I played golf, or some poor facsimile of it, in the Eagle Creek Club Championship over the weekend. While my game stunk, it did afford me the opportunity to be around of lot of people and to speak to many of them.
More than one person brought up the changes that are taking place at the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.
In case you missed it, the PD laid off about 50 newsroom veterans in preparation for the elimination of three days of home delivery. Monday morning was the first that PD subscribers walked out onto their driveway and found no newspaper waiting on them. There will still be a print edition each day but you'll have to pick up the other three editions from a single copy outlet if you want to read it those days.
"Does the Reflector plan on doing anything like that?" I was asked.
The emphatic answer is "No." I don't know how to be any clearer than that.
It's no secret that the media industry in general and newspapers in particular are in the midst of no small amount of upheaval and your hometown newspaper has been impacted by changes in the media/advertising landscape as much as the next guy.
And just like the next guy, we've been brainstorming and planning for several years to deal with the changes. We have a strategy and central to it is the printing and delivery of a newspaper every day but Sunday, just as it has been for the past 183 years that we've been reporting the news for Norwalk and Huron County.
Community newspapers such as the Reflector, the Willard Times, Bellevue Gazette and any of the other hundreds of newspapers that serve small-town America are different animals than the metropolitan behemoths that roam major cities like the mammoths and giant sloths that once foraged this very land.
Those animals were either hunted to extinction or simply out competed by smaller, nimbler animals for food and resources. That's not unlike the challenge metropolitan daily newspapers are facing as small, niche websites, large national sites, cable, radio, TV and alternative newspapers devour advertising and circulation dollars and audience attention on which they once feasted.
Obviously, like with the mammoths and sloths, what's being left on the tree limbs and in the fields is not enough to sustain their massive size.
But our purpose here is not to dwell on what metropolitan newspapers are doing, but what the Norwalk Reflector is doing.
While I can't overly stress that we will continue to produce and deliver a daily newspaper for Norwalk and Huron County, that does not mean that we're not constantly seeking other avenues to get the quality, local content our talented news staff produces in front of as many people as possible and via whatever venues or devices are necessary to do that.
In addition to print, we're pushing our news out to the Internet, email, tablets, smart phones and social media. NorwalkReflector.com routinely receives more than 4 million page views a month and the number of people we're reaching via mobile devices has more than doubled in the past year and will likely double again this year.
I dare say that if enough Norwalkians want to read our news on sandwich boards, we'll field an army of people to walk up and down the streets carrying them. We'll skate to where the puck is going.
Mercifully, there doesn't appear to be much demand for sandwich boards at this point. What there is demand for is quality, trustworthy news, photos and opinion focused on local people and local issues printed on paper delivered to porches and driveways and that's where the Reflector's primary focus will remain.
We want to see you and have you see us every day -- except maybe tomorrow when Don Hohler plans on putting my golf score in the paper. Feel free to skip that one.
Andy Prutsok is the Reflector's publisher. Reach him at [email protected].