Daily Press makes switch to morning publication

After more than a century of afternoon delivery, the Craig Daily Press is now your morning newspaper.

Publisher Samantha Johnston said readers and advertisers stand to benefit from the new schedule, which will put fresh news in homes and on newsstands by 7 a.m.

For subscribers, the paper will be delivered in the same place, by the same people, about eight hours earlier than before.

Readers will have the choice whether to read the paper at breakfast, or wait until the afternoon like they've always done.

And while afternoon newspapers theoretically should be able to offer more timely information about what happened "today," production schedules and the logistics of the business left little chance for the afternoon paper to be anything other than a "late" daily morning paper.

"When providing a newspaper in the afternoon, it's hard for it to be as fresh as we'd like it to be," Johnston said. "Because of production schedules, it's not as much of a deadline newspaper as you would hope."

The afternoon newspaper is a dying breed in the industry, Johnston said.

Under the new schedule, readers should be able to find out this morning what happened at last night's City Council meeting, for instance. Late-breaking afternoon and evening events can be reported at 7 a.m. as opposed to later in the afternoon.

Johnston believes most newspaper readers are accustomed to getting their news in the morning. For instance, television news stations and Denver newspapers bring information to their patrons at daybreak. Craig residents now can start their days informed about local issues from their hometown daily, Johnston said.

As an effort at due diligence, to test reader reaction to the move, Johnston randomly called 100 Craig Daily Press subscribers and discussed the idea of a morning newspaper. Ninety-seven subscribers said they'd prefer to get the paper in the morning. Two said the timing was inconsequential to them. One man said he preferred the afternoon paper.

Such a response convinced Johnston that readers would be receptive to the change. "It gives them fresh news and a choice about when they want to read it," Johnston said.

With the morning delivery will come a new level of customer service, Johnston said.

The circulation staff will be at the office the whole day after the paper is delivered as opposed to just a few hours in the evenings. Delivery problems can be cleared up sooner, Johnston said.

Johnston was encouraged that all of the veteran drivers and all but one of the newspaper carriers stayed on for the new delivery schedule.

"We were proud of the fact that they wanted to stick with it even though it meant a major change in the way they do things," Johnston said.

For advertisers, a morning delivery should be more of a "call to action" for their customers. Advertisers can publicize today's specials today, for instance.

Now, they'll be able to get more current information in the paper sooner, Johnston said.

Also, advertising and readership are tied together.

"Advertisers get a benefit simply because we're going to improve readership," Johnston said.

The Craig Daily Press will distribute about 1,000 more copies of the paper each day in hopes of reaching more readers, Johnston said.

"This is a service to readers and a huge service to advertisers," Johnston said. "It meets a bigger need for both of those groups, and those are the two reasons we're in business. I think people will really get used to it and look forward to having their paper in the morning."

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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