Everybody has New Year’s resolutions.
Do they get fulfilled? Probably not. I can’t remember one that I ever did. Told myself many times that I need to lose weight. Still haven’t. Maybe I am setting the goals to high. Perhaps I should aim for gaining weight. Maybe then I’ll lose. I don’t know. This kind of critical thinking makes my brain swell.
So, I have decided to try a different tactic. This year I will be making business resolutions for The Mirror. These have to get done as people are watching and my future employment is likely at stake. Nothing like a little added incentive. So here goes.
M: Major overhaul. I believe The Mirror is a great local newspaper wrapped up in a look of yesteryear. It’s a little tired and needs new makeup applied. Starting in late January, we will shift the look of the paper from its current broadsheet format (wide sheet) to a tabloid format (narrow) paper. What will this do? For one, the paper will be smaller in size and easier to handle; about half the size it is now. It will be more manageable should you read it on a bus, at a small booth in a restaurant or at your kitchen table. Additionally, it will have many more pages of color. You will have a sports section that is now in color. We will be bringing new sections to you on a monthly basis. There will be a parenting section dealing with issues that affect parents today. There will be a “go green” section with tips and tools to build a sustainable future. We will have a health and fitness section with articles on healthy living and habits. Many more will be added as the new format takes shape. I see us having an arts and entertainment and business sections. None of the current articles, editorials or writers that you currently read will be affected. They will continue to produce the same quality news that you have grown to expect. It will simply be presented in a more concise format.
I: Innovation with the Internet. We continue to strive to be a local news outlet that, while only printing two days per week, covers Federal Way as a daily newspaper. As news happens, we will report it. Our integration with our Web product makes this possible. If we are past deadline on print, we will break the news on the Internet and follow up with the newest details in the next print edition. Should we be within deadline on the print product, we will follow up with details on the Web. Locally this integration has not occurred with great consistency in the past. It is one of our major goals for 2009.
R: Rewards. You can share in the fun. In 2009, there will be a number of reader rewards programs where you can earn cash, gift cards and treasure chests full of stuff. Look for these as the year progresses. Hint: The first one is due in February near that day of love I always seem to forget about.
R: Return to profitability. Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are probably aware that newspapers are having a tough time right now. Matter of fact, I have said many times that newspapers are the third bailout plan. First financial, then autos and next newspapers. Well, don’t believe everything that you read. As a newspaper group (i.e., the industry as a whole), we tend to lump all newspapers together. This is a bit like saying a tractor-trailer is a pickup truck. Well, yeah, they both haul items, but the similarities stop there. The same is true in the news industry. Dailies are bleeding profusely right now. Their niche is eroding and they are struggling to reel it in. The same is not so true for local community news. If there is a darling of a struggling group, it is your local newspaper. Don’t get me wrong, we have our issues, but they are not of the magnitude of daily newspapers. Our job is to bring you a relevant newspaper that is profitable and sustainable for the future. We will be doing that in 2009. The conversion to tabloid will help this, as we will use less newsprint and ink. This is a newspaper’s biggest cost. Our advertisements, the financial lifeblood of a newspaper, will continue to be low cost and affordable for the local businesses in the Federal Way market. Color ads will be redone to become affordable. By being a broadsheet, we could not have accomplished the majority of these items.
O: Outstanding journalism. We have a great group of writers. From actual beat staff reporters to columnists, the news presented is vital, in tune with our city and local. When I took over as publisher, I had a very simple game plan. I believe that the beauty of simplicity is its simplicity. Therefore we had two goals: Keep it local and make sure it is compelling. If it is one or the other, it doesn’t make it in. If it has both, we go with it. We will continue to follow this rule. Fortunately, our community allows us to follow these guidelines. Where else can you have sex with ghosts, a judge who doesn’t play nicely and never-completed road construction?
R: Responsibility to the environment. Every unused copy of The Mirror is picked up by our delivery truck and returned to the plant for recycling. We want to begin to adapt a green lifestyle that many of you have — and are open for suggestions on how we can advance this trend. We will help you with recycling. Collect your past Mirrors and, as time allows, bring them by our main office. We will make sure they get recycled for you.
I resolve to make your newspaper better. Help keep me on track and let me know when you think I am straying. Now about this weight issue…