Those buying a copy of this newspaper off the newsstand this week will no doubt notice the single copy price has increased to $1. For the record, it has been 25 years to the month since we last raised the single copy price from 35 cents to 50 cents. With the never-ending increasing cost of doing business, it is certainly justified and long overdue.
Our increased costs come at a time when we are fighting social media for advertising dollars. We are thankful to our local businesses that have appreciated the value that advertising in our newspaper brings, and continue to show their support in their weekly or seasonal ads, but there are still some who only turn to Facebook or other online sources to reach their customers. As with all other newspapers we have been battling the double whammy — increased costs and reduced revenues.
For us, right behind wages and benefits — which represents an expense of 60 cents for every dollar we make — newsprint is our second highest expense and the price has been skyrocketing this year because of the new tariffs imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. By year’s end, newspapers and printers can expect to pay as much as 32 percent more for paper which, unfortunately, could ultimately jeopardize the jobs of more then 600,000 workers in the publishing and paper industries nationwide. As Susan Rowell, president of the National Newspaper Association said, “If you want to silence a free press, take away its newsprint.”
So, imagine for a moment if there were no newspaper in Lassen County. We can’t help but believe that it would leave a gaping hole in our communities. It’s our written history. It showcases our youth and our schools. It let’s us know what is happening in local government. It chronicles our births and deaths. It continues to be the most reliable marketplace for goods and services.
We want you to know we will continue to meet our obligation to our advertisers to deliver the majority of our newspapers free to every home and business in the region. However, we will also be more frequently asking you, our readers, to show their appreciation for getting this paper each week by paying $20 annually for a “voluntary subscription.” It’s certainly not a lot to ask from you for all we have to offer.