Change is in the air...

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

There is a big change in the newspaper you’re reading this week. If all went well, you won’t even notice it.

Since the 1980s, The New Prague Times has been printed at Cannon Valley Printing in Northfield. The paper was sent to the printing plant - at first physically with paste ups, then, in more recent years, electronically on a computer server - on Wednesday morning, and that paper was printed, bundled and delivered on Wednesday afternoon to New Prague. It was a nice arrangement, with our sister publications, the Montgomery Messenger, Lake Region Life of Waterville and Elysian Enterprise also following the same schedule.

Last month, we were alerted that Adams Media, the group that owns Cannon Valley Publishing, along with a number of other newspapers and two other printing plants in the area, was closing the Northfield plant, the smallest of the three. Our newspapers will now be printed at a printing plant in Princeton. We have worked out an arrangement that will allow our newspaper to be printed with minimal changes in our schedule. The paper will now need to be sent a bit earlier on Wednesdays, but will still be delivered to New Prague on Wednesday afternoons and sent out for delivery.

It’s always scary when you change the way you do things, when you start working with people you aren’t familiar with and when you have a new schedule to follow. As I said, the deadline we have for putting the pages on the server is moved up only slightly. That is a goal that we have been working at anyway, and it has simply forced our hand a bit earlier than planned. In the past, we tried to get late-breaking news - stories from events held on Tuesday evenings - in the paper that week. We will be doing less of that, with the hope that we can wrap up most of the paper’s production by late Tuesday afternoon.

If there is any late-breaking news, you will still be able to follow it online at our website, newpraguetimes.com.

Local news

That brings us to another topic. Last week, the Pew Research Center published its annual assessment of the state of news media. It’s no secret that the news industry has faced many changes and challenges over the last 20 years with the increasing popularity of online sources. The Times, like many other newspapers, operates its own website.

The study says that most American - 71% - think their local news media is doing fine financially. At the same time, only 24 percent of people say they have paid for local news content in the last year - whether it be subscriptions, donations or membership fees. The reason they don’t pay? About half of the people say they can find plenty of free local news, so they don’t need to pay for it, while about a quarter say they lack an interest in local news.

The same study shows that Americans feel pretty good about the job their local news media are doing. Overall, about a quarter say their local media is doing well at keeping them informed on the most important stories of the day, and 81 percent say they do fairly well. Those who believe that their local journalists are connected to their communities, tend to give their local media higher evaluations.

The New Prague Times is all about local news. As a locally owned community newspaper, we work hard to provide our readers with information they want or need to know about the city and schools. We report on what is happening with your neighbors and friends, and we strive to do so with accuracy. Because we are able to be more thorough and have more insight into the situation than many online sources, many of whom rely on local media to get their basic information. And, unlike social media sites, we deal with facts that have been confirmed, not rumors that are on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a tough time to be in the news business. We’ve seen a few area newspapers close or downsize in recent years. We are fortunate that there are many in this community who value what we do and we appreciate the people who support us through newspaper subscriptions and advertising. As long as we have that support, we will continue our mission to keep people of the New Prague area informed.

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