As Access Press managing editor, I’ve reviewed many of your letters and commentaries over the years. Now I get to write you, our readers, a letter of my own.
After a strategic planning process and a staff transition, more changes are coming for Access Press. One big change, which we will implement in March, is to change our deadline and print schedules. Submission will now be due the 15th of each month, rather than the 25th.
Our goal is to be on the streets and in the mailbox on or by the first day of each month.
We will make this transition starting with the April issue. We’ll try to be as flexible as possible, especially because April is one of our Directory of Organizations issues. The directories are valued by readers, but they are also a lot of moving parts to put together every quarter.
We also are considering reducing our number of pages for a time as we work to stabilize and then increase our revenues.
We’re also actively seeking ways to continue to transform our online presence and have the print edition and online edition support each other.
These efforts are ongoing as we gear up to prepare to celebrate 30 years of Access Press, starting with the May issue and continuing in issues and online after that. The changes are part of our strategy to continue to bring you news and information by and for Minnesotans with disabilities.
Our board of directors, our interim management team and I appreciate your understanding as we have gone through a number of changes over the past few years. We know many of you miss the Charlie Smith Award Banquet, and the chance to nominate disability community leaders for the award in our founding editor’s honor.
We know that phone calls don’t always get as quick a response as you’d like. We dislike telling readers that there’s things we cannot do because we just don’t have the resources. That’s the reality many newspapers face.
While I was not at Access Press at the beginning, I was a neighborhood newspaper editor who knew and worked with founding editor Charlie Smith Jr. when he made the transition from for-profit to nonprofit status for Access Press. Access Press was once part of a community of more than 60 neighborhood, ethnic and other reader community-specific newspapers in the Twin Cities. That number has dwindled by almost two-thirds.
Many of our newspaper advertisers have opted to leave print for online outlets. Too many of our small business friends and brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled in an online economy. In the disability community, we’ve also lost valued advertisers due to onerous federal regulations and changes. When we ask you to patronize and thank the advertisers who bring you Access Press in print and online, we mean that.
To say that these are challenging times for print journalism is the understatement of the decade. As someone who grew up working at small papers, and filing stories before I had a driver’s license, I’ve seen many changes first-hand. No one years ago could have imagined what the internet would do to traditional newspapers.
We’re not going away, thanks to our readers and allies. I share in our gratitude for the support many of you have shown Access Press over the past several months. If there are questions about the deadline changes or anything else, please call me at 651-644-2133 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane McClure is Managing Editor of Access Press.