Looking back to deliver a new way forward

What now seems like a lifetime ago, I used to pick up a bundle of newspapers after school and deliver them to about 100 homes in Silver Heights so that the news of the day could be read after supper.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/05/2018 (1721 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

What now seems like a lifetime ago, I used to pick up a bundle of newspapers after school and deliver them to about 100 homes in Silver Heights so that the news of the day could be read after supper.

Those were the days when the Free Press was an afternoon paper, and there was no real competition for the experience of leaning back to enjoy the carefully packaged bundle of information that landed in your mailbox.

Alas, those days are clearly gone. Today, we have more information coming at us than we can possibly consume. There are options that are trusted and valuable. Unfortunately, we are also being served up content from those that can’t be trusted — or by others manipulating your readership data and privacy in ways that would make your head spin.

The online evening edition of the Free Press will debut Wednesday.

But what if we could turn back the clock in a way that provided an old-world solution in a new-world way? Is it time to slow down our news metabolism in order to learn more about what really matters — and to do so in a way that allows us to enjoy the experience?

Those are the questions we hope to answer with today’s debut of our new approach to delivering the news for online readers.

The introduction of our digital edition today marks a new era for the Free Press and our subscribers. Each weekday by 7 p.m. we will deliver a carefully curated package of the news, features and analysis that mimics the immersive experience that’s long been the strength of our print product.

The look and feel of this new edition is distinct from the rest of what we provide on our digital platforms, and it will differentiate the Free Press from everything else in the local marketplace.

The presentation is big and bold. The authority you’ve long expected from the Free Press is augmented by visuals that add even more value. And, to top things off, we’re even adding a crossword puzzle and the option of having the edition delivered daily to your inbox for you to read at your convenience.

This move is based on three reality checks.

First, we recognize that while information is limitless, your time isn’t. So, we’re offering a finite experience built on curated order to reward you for your time and your dime.

Second, everyone needs a break from the breaking news merry-go-round. We know that your day may have taken you from one news vending machine to another, grabbing bits of information here, and bytes there. But when your day is done and you have time to lean back, we want the Free Press to serve up a full-meal deal with what you need to know — and also stories to entertain and delight you.

The third reality comes from what our online readers tell us based on how often they come to our digital platforms. We’ve learned the average reader comes to our website 2½ times a day. For some of our readers, that might be just a quick scan of the headlines and a few clicks here and there. For others, it’s a deep dive with multiple reads and even time spent making comments as they join in the online dialogue available to subscribers.

As I’ve mentioned to you before, our future success depends on our subscribers valuing the stories our newsroom produces, and also attracting more paid readers to help fund our journalism. And that’s why we’re making the decision to no longer let the clock curate the news or leave the packaging up to a faceless algorithm, as is frequently the case with our competition.

In doing so, we hope our digital edition will not only become a daily habit for our readers, but also one that leads to more engagement and another reason to become a paid member of our growing audience.

While this paperboy won’t be personally delivering the new digital edition to your inbox, I am standing by, as always, to hear what you think and to take your suggestions.

— Paul Samyn is the Free Press editor

paul.samyn@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @paulsamyn

Paul Samyn

Paul Samyn

Paul Samyn has been part of the Free Press newsroom for more than a quarter century, working his way up after starting as a rookie reporter in 1988.

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