Back in the day, readers would get their news when the paper was delivered. And they would get only what the newspaper gave them.
That’s not how real life works, of course, and the internet has removed much of the “gatekeeper” aspects that businesses (such as newspapers) relied on to keep their value in the market.
There is no hiding it: Readers naturally want the news when it happens, or when it is convenient for them. Not just when we deliver that paper to your box.
I am happy to report that our staff at the Tribune “gets it.”
We still make choices about when to publish, but dl-online.com and our social media (“Detroit Lakes Newspapers” on Facebook; @DLNewspapers on Twitter) allow us to publish our work to best fit your needs.
For instance, our Wednesday newspaper is delivered to readers over the course of the afternoon. Meanwhile, our traffic on dl-online.com shows us that we have a large -- if not the largest -- portion of our audience visiting us early in the morning.
Our online traffic dips on the weekends (no surprise there), so our Sunday newspaper content might not be seen by as many people if we post it on Sunday.
That’s why, for the past couple of months, we have been making it a priority to begin our publishing day -- every day -- around 7 a.m. on dl-online.com.
And not with yesterday’s news. Through a few changes in our deadline structure, as well as a web-first planning strategy, we have been able to publish our best stuff, at the best times, for the maximum benefit of our audience and our paper.
Stories about money and shopping, and local names and faces, never go out of style. Of course, readers gravitate toward “bad news” -- court and crime and accident stories.
But I would prefer to start the week on a good foot. That’s one of the reasons we publish Lynn Hummel’s column at 10 a.m. Mondays on dl-online.com. I would like to think that the outdoors enthusiasts in our community appreciate reading the hunting and fishing news online on Fridays before the Sunday print edition comes out, too.
This strategy helps our print product, too. For instance, if we publish a story early in the week that our audience gravitates toward, it might give us an indication of where to put that story in print. It might help us correct something before a mistake gets put on paper. It might reveal more sources to make the final story even stronger.
All of this work happening in front of your eyes, funneling down to its the very best for print on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Readers are creatures of habit, and look forward to engaging with the Tribune when and where they want.
My hope is that our readers spend some time with our digital products, and find new habits with our content. Meanwhile, we will continue to listen to our audience, and try to make ourselves as valuable and indispensable to you as possible.
Contact Detroit Lakes Tribune Editor J.J. Perry at 218-844-1466, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @jjperry on Twitter.