Kimberly Fowler

For 140 years now the Del Norte Triplicate has been the newspaper of record and the trusted source for news in Del Norte County. Started as the Del Norte Record, E.J. Eldredge launched the publication as a modest advertising sheet, quickly growing it to a weekly newspaper.

In the early 1900’s the name Triplicate was adopted when William McMaster then publisher and editor of the Del Norte Record acquired two other newspapers and consolidated all three into a single weekly, The Del Norte Triplicate. The Del Norte Triplicate expanded from weekly to twice weekly in 1969.

In 1990 the Del Norte Triplicate became the Daily Triplicate expanding to five mornings a week, Tuesday through Saturday. This lasted until 2011 when the paper once again became the Del Norte Triplicate and published three days per week.

While there have been several changes in the name and frequency of publication over the years, the publishers and editors have done everything possible to not affect the quality journalism you have come to expect.

Please pardon the history lesson, I wanted to understand our past and thought it may bring some context to why I am reaching out to you, our readers and advertising partners.

Change is inevitable. In this case it is necessary. I choose to look at change as an opportunity to reflect, re-evaluate and re-invent. Change, even change that happens through difficulty, can produce exceptional
results.

Many changes we have made in the past year at the Triplicate and the Pilot were behind the scenes. However, upcoming changes are more than to our own processes and procedures. These changes will impact our products and how you interact with us. They will make us stronger and better able to meet the changing needs of the Wild Rivers Coast.

Effective March 6, the Triplicate will transition from publishing three days each week and begin publishing twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We will also make changes to the content inside the paper .

Our A section in both the Triplicate and the Pilot will remain the same and continue to focus on local news, sports and opinion for each community it serves.

Our B section will become a regional lifestyle section. Serving the entire Wild Rivers Coast, highlighting the best we have to offer. This will allow readers to discover more about our communities all in one place.

Our regional lifestyle section will also include a coastal classified section exposing all classified ads to more readers each publication day.

The reasons for this change are many. Among them, the skyrocketing cost of newsprint. Last year, the cost of newsprint unexpectedly jumped more than 15 percent for reasons out of our control.

Changing the Del Norte Triplicate publication days to coincide with our sister publication, the Curry Coastal Pilot in Brookings, will also mean significant savings in newsprint and labor costs at our Smith River printing plant. Saving on these resources will, in time, allow us to invest back into our products.

Change is difficult but necessary if the Triplicate and the Pilot are going to thrive in an increasingly challenging economic market.

Advertising has been newspapers’ major source of revenue. But the internet and subsequent platforms like Google and Facebook have turned that business model on its ear.

In addition to taking the majority of online advertising, Google and Facebook now essentially regulate the news business, determining what news you see while refusing to pay publishers. That hurts us, our community, as well as many others across the country.

A recent national study found about 20 percent of all metro and community newspapers in the United States — about 1,800 — have gone out of business or merged since 2004, when about 9,000 were being published. It also showed that of the 3,143 counties in the United States, more than 2,000 now have no daily newspaper, 1,449 have but one newspaper of any kind, and 171 counties, with 3.2 million residents in aggregate, have no newspaper at all.

What does the future hold for the Triplicate and Pilot? I believe it is in all of our hands. While advertising will probably remain a major source of our revenue, we will also likely have to continue shifting some of the cost to you, our valued subscribers.

What can you do to help? Subscribe or renew your subscription. Urge someone you know who cares about local news coverage to do the same.

Community journalism is going to depend more than ever on readers willing to support it.

Kimberly Fowler is publisher of the Curry Coastal Pilot and Del Norte Triplicate. Reach her at kfowler@currypilot.com or kfowler@triplicate.com class="Apple-converted-space">

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