The New Year’s holiday typically brings reflection on the past year and hopes for the new year. I would like to take this time to reflect on the past year at the Antelope Valley Press and to provide all our readers with some insight into the coming year.
The year 2018 was one of transition for the AV Press. Our new owners took over the paper in July of 2017. Since then, many changes have occurred. By last January, we had reduced our staff dramatically. Many longtime employees, our friends and colleagues, left the paper. There is no way to feel good about that change. Those of us still here, realized that it had to be done in order to keep the paper solvent. In August of 2017, we made the decision to contract the delivery of our paper to a company that delivers several other newspapers in the LA area. That project was completed in May of this year and we hope you are happy with your delivery now that the transition has been completed.
In March, our longtime Editor Chuck Bostwick announced that he would be retiring from the newspaper business. In May, our new editor, Jennifer Garcia, took over our editorial team. During that transition we have had to figure out how to provide our readers with local news daily, with a much smaller staff than we have had in the past.
Our biggest challenges were in June when our computer system crashed and we were unable to build a paper for three days. During that time, we answered hundreds of your calls and made hundreds more to those of you who left messages. As a result of that crash, our new owners invested in new computer equipment and software to run our Circulation, Classified, Advertising and Editorial departments.
By October, new hardware and software were in place. This allowed us to upgrade our website to allow breaking news, saving and sharing stories and the capability of using video on the site. The latest edition to our online portfolio is our e-Edition, which allows you to read all of the pages for each day, electronically. If you haven’t seen the new avpress.com, check it out as soon as you can.
The final major change was in our decision to narrow the width of the paper. This allows us to save money on paper and the plates used for printing. You will see the pages get slightly narrower in January and tabloid-sized sections such as the TV Book will be a little bit shorter than what we have run in the past.
We have also heard from readers about a political shift to the left, in the paper. The reality is that we did cut our Opinion pages to one per day. We did not remove content from most of our columnists, but the elimination of that extra page might seem like there is less. We still maintain two Opinion pages every Sunday. Our desire is to not cater to one political view over another, but rather to provide as much information as we can on each issue. Then, readers can decide how they feel about these issues.
Our Letters to the Editor continue to be a popular item on a daily basis. Recently, we have implemented some changes in order to give more writers a chance to be heard. Those changes seem to have worked, as we are seeing more letter writers covering more topics than we saw a year ago.
I see 2019 as a year where we take the changes implemented in the last year and use them to make your reading experience better than before. Whether you read the daily paper or if you choose to read the website or e-Edition, our commitment is to providing you with the best possible experience.
This was a lot of change for our readers, employees and advertisers. However, we have gotten through all of this change, while at the same time, providing you with local news every day. We were able to add a new TV Book in March and we also added a Hometown Heroes section and a Women’s section in July. The latest addition for our readers is a 12-page puzzle book, which you will find in today’s paper.
Finally, I would like to speak to those of you who may be reading us by buying the paper on the newsstand or rack. Please consider buying a subscription. That is the best way for us to grow in print and online. If you sign up for our EZ Pay program, we’ll give you the second month free. Your subscription does a lot more than just deliver a paper to your driveway. It also allows us to make further investments in products, news gathering and equipment that will enhance your experience with the Antelope Valley Press.
Please continue to give us feedback about what you like and don’t like. You can send us an email, call us, or reach out to us on social media. We value your input and it guides us on a daily basis. The puzzle section in today’s paper is a direct result of your feedback.
I wish each of you a very Happy New Year and thank you for your continued support. It is what makes all of us passionate about what we do every day.
Call 661-273-0081 or go to “Subscribe” on the Home page to subscribe today.