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Letter from the Publisher: a news membership for less than $8 a month

  • Written by Eric LaFontaine

It’s safe to say the traditional model of circulating a newspaper has changed. Gone are the days of paperboys and 5 a.m. deliveries. News consumers no longer get their sports scores or election results the morning after. News is immediate and, depending on your age, typically begins through a digital touchpoint.

Our conversations have shifted from did you read that in the newspaper to did you see that on Facebook or Patch? Our thirst for news, both local and national, hasn’t declined (as the industry has) over the last few decades, it’s actually grown. Great stories are great stories, regardless of how the reader engages.

The only thing that’s truly changed in our industry is the method in which readers consume their local news. Operating within the current newspaper model is similar to shoving a square peg into a round hole. We (as the newspaper of record) keep pounding away, trying to force the peg into the hole, all the while it’s pretty clear it’s not going to fit. Now is the time for a disruption.

Just as disruptive as Carol Edwards, founding owner of The Woodinville Weekly and Valley View, who changed the news model in 1976 by giving the newspaper away for free. Edwards was also the first newspaperwoman in the state of Washington to put a publication’s content online for free. At the time, both strategies were disruptions to the 150-year-old traditional model.Flash forward 43 years and surprise; the traditional model is flawed. Trying to force a print newspaper into every reader’s hands is no longer a strategy that works.

Thankfully, there is an answer. There’s already a digital newspaper in the pockets, purses and on desktops of nearly every adult over the age of 25. The mobile phone is simply the 21st Century digital paperboy. It’s no longer about having to find your news. The news will eventually find you.

The cost of printing a newspaper, mailing it to every household regardless of their interests or news habits, and expecting to remain financially viable is a business model that was inherently flawed from the inception.  Paper costs have risen, along with ink, preparation, delivery and postage. It’s fair to say that advertisers, although extremely supportive, haven’t been able to bare these rising costs. Factor in the consumption shift from print to digital and the model is on a trajectory towards failure.

The good news is we’ve got an idea and a model that works. Our proven model supports quality journalism, allows newsrooms to effectively curate local news and opens up a community dialogue where the press is no longer reactive, but proactive in the narrative. And we’re starting the model in Duvall and Carnation.Effective Nov. 1, 2019, the Valley View will no longer be mailed free to the communities of Duvall and Carnation.

The paper will continue to publish monthly; it will have more pages of local and engaging content, but will only be available to Valley View members. If there ever was a time to support your local newspaper – and keep the Duvall and Carnation communities from retracting into a news desert – it is now.  What is a Valley View Membership? Your Valley View Membership is a total news experience. It’s not just a monthly newspaper; it’s a daily digital experience with local and regional news, a weekly subscription to The Woodinville Weekly, and monthly subscription to the Valley View. Members will also receive unlimited digital access to the news websites (nwnews.com/valleyview) and a curated weekly email newsletter. Your support and membership will ultimately decide the fate of the Valley View. 

It’s no longer about us (the media) telling readers what’s important to their community; it’s about the readers telling us what is valuable to you. Our team of journalists simply help connect the dots.The more you engage with our news experience, the better we understand and connect with our communities. A stronger connection translates to a better overall news experience. Establishing a strong bond between the communities of Duvall and Carnation and your local media source requires trust from readers and transparency and news from us to which we are committed.Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity to support the future of the Valley View by becoming a vested member of your local paper. Membership begins at $35 for 13 weeks or $7.99 a month if you prefer to pay with a debit or credit card. Since we’re still two months away, I’ll make your participation very user friendly.

Just send me an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with Sign Me Up in the subject line and I’ll coordinate with you from there.If you’re concerned about being the only household in Duvall or Carnation that doesn’t have a membership, please send a $35 check payable to Valley View (along with the accompanying form) and we’ll make sure your membership begins by November.As well, you have our commitment that for every 1,500 memberships, we will invest back into local journalism and hire a full-time journalist to report on the Duvall and Carnation communities, which includes city council, school boards and Cedarcrest sports!If you prefer to receive a monthly 8-page Valley View instead of the entire news package, which includes The Woodinville Weekly and access to its website, lets talk.Looking forward to receiving 1,500 emails between now and November 1.

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