Hometown news: Mostly fun, sometimes challenging, once in a while scary

Don Kirkland

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In case you think that we at Wrangler News live a life devoid of stress or even outright hazard once in a while, let us set the record straight. We don’t.

Despite the hometown-y flavor of our paper, and the fact that we have learned ways to navigate most minor trouble spots, we do occasionally hit a bump along the way. One such detour in this otherwise predictable roadmap occurred during a visit from Ty Tabat, our go-to guy at Signature Offset, the longtime Tempe printing outfit where our paper rolls off the presses every couple of weeks.

Although Ty always (always!) manages to bring smiles to our faces when he drops by, even on days when we’re racing to meet our deadline, one recent visit resulted in what was a not wholly unexpected surprise.

The cost of the paper on which you read every issue of Wrangler News has increased by almost 25 percent in the last few months, some of it due to recently imposed Canadian tariffs, some related to a drop in production because the big dailies are printing fewer pages these days, thus reducing overall demand.

So far, Ty told us, his company has managed to avoid passing on those increases by absorbing the biggest share of them. But the small (again, so far) hike in what we pay for printing each month is causing us some concern, suggesting that, should more increases be lying in wait within the next couple of years, we will have to take a serious look at the number of papers we print and how those papers get delivered.

So here’s where you come in: Should you want to get a head start (if you haven’t already, that is) on familiarizing yourself with our online edition, at the same time enjoying its ease of PageFlip navigation, its clickable links to websites and its overall convenience of access—and, best of all, no annoying pop-ups—then please email editor@wranglernews.com and simply say in the subject line: “Sign me up.”

You’ll be helping us to keep our costs manageable and to ensure that a copy of Wrangler News will always be available, no matter how paper and other costs continue to rise.

Now, going back to the beginning of this commentary, here’s what we mean when we mention hazards. In the last few months, two of our newspaper distribution professionals have been seriously threatened, and in one case chased down the street, by people who don’t want the paper delivered to their home.

Non-delivery is a normal request and one that we understand and respect. Of the approximately 20,000 papers we print, we maintain a list of about 50 no-throw requests. There are many valid reasons for wishing to suspend delivery: Out of town a lot, on vacation until a certain date, preferring our online presentation instead of the print edition (see above).

All that anyone who DOES NOT WANT a Wrangler News delivered to their driveway has to do is to email editor@wranglernews.com or call 480-966-0845, option 3, any time 24 hours a day.

There is no need to physically threaten our drivers, all of whom have been delivering newspapers to supplement their income for many years.

It’s a great job for families and one that helps build a work ethic and strengthen the bond of togetherness. (Maybe we should suggest to those two people who chased our carriers that they might want to consider trying their own hand at newspaper delivery. We’d guess a couple of hours of early morning solitude might help them relax just a bit).

Finally, please know this: Our drivers will not deliver papers to streets where hostile encounters have taken place. If you know who these people are, feel free to call us so we can follow up.

Also, we will file criminal complaints against anyone engaging in such behavior. It’s worrisome, it’s dangerous and it’s unnecessary.

If you would prefer to not have a paper delivered to your driveway, just call or email us. We understand, and we’ll still be your neighbors.

Don Kirkland
Don Kirkland realized in elementary school that his future would revolve around the written word. His first newspaper job was with a small L.A.-area daily whose publisher demanded the kind of journalistic integrity that ultimately led him to be the admired press director for both a governor and a U.S. President. Don later was employed by Times-Mirror Corp. and, in Arizona, was executive editor of the Mesa Tribune after its purchase by a major East Coast chain. He founded Wrangler News 30 years ago and has dedicated his work to preserving the vital role of community newspapers.



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