by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor
LANSING, Ill. (November 10, 2020) – It was less than a month ago that we announced our plans for a print edition of The Lansing Journal in December (link to October 19 article). It seemed like a pretty straightforward proposition—after all, we used to do a print edition every month! Then again, this year there’s no such thing as “straightforward.”
Advertisers were genuinely interested, and many made commitments right away. Readers too let us know they were looking forward to turning the pages of a printed local newspaper.
Printing issues with the print issue
We knew we’d have to use a different printer—Park Press did not survive the spring quarantine. So we reached out to another press with a lot of local newspaper experience—and we started setting up a page layout template according to their printer specs.
Ten days later we learned that this printer was going out of business too.
Fortunately, he had made arrangements with another printer who agreed to take care of his customers, including The Lansing Journal. So now we are working with Blue Island Newspaper Printing in Harvey, Illinois, to publish and print our December issue. Our fingers are crossed that they will still be in business two weeks from now when we want to upload the files!
Keeping you in the loop about the issues
I’m writing this to keep our readers in the loop and to give you a sense of some of the details involved in putting together a printed newspaper. Doing it well requires a lot of time, and thought, and more money than we typically have on hand in a given month. For those reasons I’m not sure how often we’ll be able to do a print issue in the coming year.
Local businesses, churches, schools, and other organizations have filled almost all the advertising spots, so we have enough money to cover the “hard costs”—putting ink on 20 pages, printing 13,000 copies, and delivering them to every home in Lansing.
But it would be nice to also cover the softer costs associated with the actual news printed on those pages:
- Time: For each article they submit, our reporters spend hours attending meetings, organizing notes, crafting sentences, rewriting paragraphs, double-checking facts, and sorting through photos. How much is their time worth?
- Thought: To decide which articles from the past year should be included in this special year-end issue, Josh Bootsma will review the 1,436 stories we’ve published so far. He’ll do his best to make sure all our various categories of news are included and all our reporters are represented. Is there a way to place a value on his thought process?
- Service: The December print issue will not be only a compilation of previously published news. It will also include new news, stories that haven’t appeared on our website or in our Daily News emails yet. Of course, we don’t know yet what those stories will be—anything can happen! But we are committed to being present, asking questions, and publishing news that affects our community—just as we have throughout the pandemic, throughout the protests, throughout the businesses closing and the schools opening, throughout all the unprecedented-ness of 2020. What might readers be willing to pay for that kind of service?
Two small things we ask
As you look forward to receiving a printed copy of The Lansing Journal during the first week of December, will you consider these two requests?
- When you open those printed pages, please pay attention to the advertisements, and please support those local organizations. Their advertising dollars paid for the ink and paper you’ll be holding in your hands.
- Sometime in the next two weeks, please make a donation to help pay for the local journalism that will fill those printed pages—the reporting, writing, editing, and ongoing coverage that The Lansing Journal offers this community.
You could give a little each month:
Or you cold give a one-time donation:
We are looking forward to the December print issue as much as you are! And we will continue to keep you in the loop as the project moves forward.
Thank you for supporting your community newspaper!