By John Quinney, Charlotte News Board of Directors
Normally we’d just walk to our mailboxes every other Thursday and find the next edition of The Charlotte News. But for our July 23 edition, we’re going digital-only. The printed paper will be back again on August 6 for the rest of the year, and, we expect, far beyond.
Rather than read our July 23 issue on paper, you can simply go to our website and check out all the new articles, top stories, and messages from our advertisers. You’ll be able to read the entire paper online, turning the digital pages with a click on your keyboard, or a touch of your screen. You’ll also be able to click on the ads for more information from our advertisers. And we’re constantly adding new, online features.
Why not just print the paper as usual? Two reasons.
First, many readers are asking us to boost our digital presence. All of us increasingly rely on our phones, tablets and computers — for news, for staying in touch with friends and family, for recreation and entertainment. Your Board of Directors is committed to making The News more useful and relevant to you, by supplying more news, articles and services online.
Second, although The Charlotte News enjoys strong support from our advertisers (thank you very much!) and our donors (you are amazing!) newspapers everywhere are under economic pressure, and are exploring a range of new opportunities. Printing and distributing 25 papers a year is expensive, and so it’s prudent to explore what we could expect in savings with a different mix of print and digital news.
Maybe you’ve noticed we’ve recently upgraded our website. We’ve switched to a new, local, hosting service, boosted the website’s performance, made it easier to search, and improved layout and readability. Our website contains past issues of the paper, as well as individual articles, organized into categories, such as Planning Commission, CCS, Letters to the Editor, COVID-19, and so on. You’ll also find a Donate Now button, a newsletter sign-up form, and several ways to search for older stories.
If you haven’t already signed up for our email newsletter, which we send out every Thursday with links to the main stories on our website, you can do so on our website.
We’ll also post a short reader survey online. We want to know how you feel about the site, what new features you’d like to see, and what improvements are needed. The Charlotte News is your paper, and we listen very carefully to what you’re telling us.
To repeat: This digital-only paper is an experiment. We will continue to print and distribute the paper regularly on August 6 and afterward. And we’ll steadily add features and services to our website and social media platforms.
We love hearing from our readers at any time. We’re especially interested in your thoughts on our digital-only paper coming in two weeks.