My first job as a kid was delivering The Forum in my Moorhead neighborhood.
In the 20-block area I covered north of Moorhead State in the mid-1980s, nearly every home subscribed to the daily paper. The same was true everywhere.
I loved that first job, just as I love being editor of that same newspaper today.
Bill Marcil Jr. addresses print reduction at The Forum
But much has changed in the past 35 years, none more than how news delivery has changed.
The Forum now has a much larger online readership than it ever had in print. On a daily basis, two out of three readers are coming to us online, while one in three are reading us in print.
We’ve always tried to give our loyal print readers and advertisers the best newspaper we could. However, a daily newspaper is expensive to produce and deliver. It only works financially when there is a strong combination of print subscribers and print advertisers.
Print advertising has been declining for years. Unfortunately, the pandemic has accelerated that, greatly challenging the economics of the printed paper.
In early April, we stopped delivering a printed newspaper on Mondays and Fridays. It was a difficult but necessary decision for sustaining the future of news in this region. And we hoped it would be enough. Sadly, it wasn’t.
With continued stress on our business because of the pandemic, on June 24 The Forum will move to a two-day print delivery schedule of Wednesdays and Saturdays. At that time, we will also change from carrier delivery to mail delivery of the printed paper, which for many will mean a different delivery time those two days.
Unfortunately, this change means The Forum’s carrier force will be eliminated as well as most of the dedicated employees in our circulation department.
But there are some positive outcomes with this change as well.
The new Wednesday and Saturday print editions will be hefty and filled with all the news, features and advertising print readers value.
Our e-paper, an electronic replica of the daily newspaper, will still be produced seven days a week and is free for all subscribers to access at InForum.com. Most readers who try our e-paper come to love it. It’s delivered early each day no matter the weather or your location, is easy to page through and enlarge, and exactly resembles the printed newspaper.
Or maybe you’ll learn to like the fast-paced and up-to-the-moment news delivery of our main website. Subscribers have access to all of that.
While some things are changing, I want to emphasize we will continue reporting on the news seven days a week. We will cover your favorite local sports teams, share your celebratory milestones and sorrow-filled memorials, and offer everything from investigative reporting and explanatory stories to local features and opinion pieces.
If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to join the 84,000 readers who have created an InForum account and try the digital access that comes with your print subscription. You can do this by going to inforum.com/activate. Once activated, please check out the e-paper. I think you’ll like it. We are also happy to help walk anyone through this process by phone, email or even in person if computers or smartphones aren’t your thing. Simply call (800) 274-5445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I love the printed newspaper. I grew up reading it, delivering it and later helping create it.
As difficult as it has been, the decision to cut back on print delivery days ensures we can still deliver the strongest news report to this region for years to come.
We humbly ask for your continued support.
Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. You can reach him via email at email@example.com, by phone at (701) 241-5579 or on Twitter @inforumed