Change is coming

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The numbers keep going up. It started this past spring and hasn’t stopped. Now we’re at a point where The Herald has to do something about it.

It’s been a month since I took over the editorial side. In that time, one thing’s become painfully clear: we needed to change our pricing. Why? You can thank inflation, those increasing numbers I mentioned earlier.

ADJUSTING TO INFLATION

Over the last six months alone, the cost of everything from the paper we print on to the ink used has gone up. And I’m not talking about $1 or $2. Most of these pieces skyrocketed by 20-30%, with no end in sight.

One reason for the paper hike is that the number of paper mills in operation keeps dropping. Over the last seven years, 27% of the mills in North America have shut down. And every time that happens, the remaining mills do what any business would do, they increase prices. So we’ve been seeing a steady increase in the cost of paper, at the same time there’s been a decrease in the options available. The Herald has worked to absorb those costs, but after the latest increases this year, we just couldn’t do that anymore.

Another issue comes from increased mailing costs. Customers who get their copy of The Herald through the mail, it’s becoming more expensive to get that to you. After one increase last year, we’ve seen rates go up yet again. As with the cost of paper and ink, it’s just reached a point where we can’t absorb those costs anymore.

RAISING PRICES

Now in order to cover those costs, we’ve had to adjust our own pricing. We held off on that as long as possible, looking for different types of products. The staff here searched before I got here and I looked for options over the last month as well. We weren’t successful. The truth is, after six months of searching, we just haven’t found a cheaper option for any of the material we need.

We tried to keep the price increase as small as possible, but it’s there just the same. That means 75 cents for an individual print copy, with $17 for a three month print subscription, $29 for a six month and $49 for one year.

If you’re living in Virginia outside of Amelia, Appomattox, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway, Prince Edward and Powhatan counties, the cost goes up a bit more. That’s due to the U.S. Postal Service charges. We’re talking $25 for a three-month subscription, $45 for six months and $70 for one year.

Finally, for our print readers outside of Virginia, you can expect a bump as well. A three-month subscription goes for $38, while six months costs $45 and a one-year subscription is $75.

ANOTHER OPTION

Now there is another way to get your news delivered. That’s online, through our digital subscription. If you want it exactly like it looks in the print version, we have an e-edition that can be delivered to your email twice a week, the same day the regular paper goes out. If you want stories on a daily basis, you can get them through our website or our email newsletter. In both cases, we give five stories free in a 30-day period. After that, you would need to subscribe to keep reading.

A digital subscription is $4.99 a month or $49.99 for a year. You get the same news, but rather than wait for the mail or a carrier to deliver it, the material is right there whenever you want it.

So that’s what’s happening with The Herald and its sister papers. I wanted to give an explanation, because I’m big on transparency. Like it or hate it, at least you’ll understand why a decision happened from my mindset.

I’ve got more to talk about, but we’ve run out of space on this edition. I’ll be back on Friday, discussing some of the editorial changes, both the ones already going on and some still yet to come.

BRIAN CARLTON is the editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. He can be reached at Brian.Carlton@ FarmvilleHerald.com.