From hieroglyphics to mouse clicks, how Wrangler is navigating change

Wrangler News owner and publisher Don Kirkland is at the wheel of a changing news and information organization.


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Just so you’ll understand why publishing brings me so much pleasure, it has been entrenched in my day-to-day routine since those sixth-grade years at John Muir Elementary in Glendale, Calif.

Don Kirkland

Our teacher, Mrs. Emerson, showed us how to write on paper with indelible ink, then carefully place that lettered sheet over a layer of gelatin poured into the bottom of a cake pan. The little newspaper I produced after learning that technique—which today seems akin to cave hieroglyphics—was definitely transformative. It gave me the know-how to publish a full-fledged newspaper, circulation 20, for my neighbors on Chestnut Street. (Twenty was the maximum number of pages you could duplicate before the ink faded or the gelatin dried out. Or sometimes both).

At any rate, my experiment with gelatinized printing—and the blackened fingers that proved the ink actually was indelible—became the precursor of the career I’ve followed these many years.

Oh how things have changed. If only Mrs. Emerson could be here to see the ways digital technology has transformed a medium she no doubt believed would survive forever.

Which brings me to the current state of Wrangler News—where we’ve been and where we’re headed in the weeks/months ahead.

We’ve been dabbling lately in a bit of journalistic legerdemain: Not overlooking the preferences of many readers to hold a copy of the local newspaper in their hands as they’ve always done, yet making sure that those who increasingly find their information online or on social media have a place to go for neighborhood news.

Thanks to Noah Kutz, Yusef Sabri, Mason Millsap and Lee Shappell, we’ve gotten much better at being able to provide a wide range of our newspaper’s print content, and more, in this digitized world we’re living in. Stories and photos can be posted in real time.

Ads that appear on the pages of our bi-weekly, home-delivered print edition also can be seen here on our website and in our digital edition with one huge additional benefit. To learn almost instantly about special offers and hours of operation, plus find driving directions and delivery options, a single click of the mouse on the digital ad on our website takes you directly to that advertiser’s home page and the full range of what they have to offer.

It’s a change that, so far, seems to have been well received, evidence the latest analytical reports. Our slight modification to home-delivery areas has been accompanied by a surprisingly rapid—and impressive—jump in online viewership, which last month showed a nearly 180 percent increase over the previous month.

As we venture further into the future, we hope you’ll continue to enjoy Wrangler News, wherever or however you receive it.

And, of course, that you’ll tell your favorite providers of quality products and services about how we’ve brought our (and your) community closer to home for nearly three decades. Without having to resurrect those days of indelible ink and gelatin in a cake pan.

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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