As paper costs rise, so do our hopes you’ll want to help

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Don Kirkland

I don’t want to be accused of sounding like a broken record when I talk (yes, again) about the newspaper industry’s continuing worries over the costs of doing—and staying in—business.

The reality confronting even small, hometown-focused papers like ours with being forced to increase our spending for newsprint, due in part to recently imposed import tariffs, has caused many of us to begin mapping plans for how to confront the challenges that likely lie ahead.

You don’t have to look far for evidence of how rising paper costs are affecting the big dailies around the country.

The cover story on The New York Times’ Aug. 10 Business section described how even local newspapers, some of them already under economic siege, have had to reduce staff, cut back on publication schedules or, in some cases, turn off the lights and shut the doors.

Fortunately, Wrangler News is small enough that none of those sad scenarios seems likely any time soon. However, at 3 in the morning if I happen to wake up thinking about the previous day’s events, it’s easy to let thoughts of disaster creep into my otherwise optimistic view of the world.

Let me be clear: We’re doing just fine these days. In fact, even without any significant outside advertising-sales initiative, we manage to generate enough revenue to pay our printer, our writers, our photographers, our distribution crew and our monthly lease, even with a little left for Joyce and me.

No, we can’t make a claim to wealth, financially speaking, but I know we both feel rich in the rewards of a community that mostly appreciates what we do, enjoys the end product and believes that little hometown publications like ours add value and a sense of neighborhood that doesn’t exist in towns where the only news comes via the innards of one’s cellphone.

However, to ignore altogether the effects rising newsprint costs might have on our longevity, I’d like to ask your help—assuming, of course, that you’re one who agrees with our assessment over the value we bring to Tempe and Chandler and wants to see our efforts continue.

So here’s how you can help:

Talk to the managers/owners of the places where you do business. Tell them about Wrangler News and let them know how important you feel community newspapers are to reinforcing the sense of neighborhood that holds us all together.

Explain how you, your family, your friends—your neighbors—look forward to receiving a local newspaper in their driveway every other Saturday throughout the year. Tell them how holding a newspaper in one’s hand, sharing a story or photo about one of your children’s or your own friends, represents a very real and memorable experience, not just a fleeting digital image that can evaporate like a pleasant dream that goes away the moment you awake.

Honestly, folks, we really do believe in what we do. And, from what we hear in our everyday travels, it seems that you do too.

So if you’d like to see Wrangler News be here for your kids, for your grandkids and for the many others for whom you believe a local newspaper represents a lifeline to a better community, then help us reach those small-business owners who can gain as much from a few of their marketing dollars as we all do from papers we can hold in our hands—like this one.

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