| G. Michael Dobbs
No one likes change, right? That’s the conventional wisdom.
Change can be shocking and I’m sure many of you looking at this new edition of The Original Pennysaver are going to say, “That’s not The Pennysaver.”
I understand, but give me a moment to explain.
On July 11, Reminder Publishing LLC – the company that produces three home-delivered weekly newspapers as well as Go Local and Prime monthlies – acquired the Westfield News Group.
Our charge was simple: build on the success of the company’s publications by looking at each of them and seeing what could be done to strengthen them.
The foundation of Reminder Publishing is a more than 50-year emphasis on local news and advertising. As other media outlets have shifted their focus away from local, we have doubled our efforts to give our readers local news.
Local news is the information that affects us the most and the quickest. Yes, national and international news is important and potentially life changing, but local news is about the actions of local government – your taxes and how they are spent, the standard of living in a community, the effectiveness of schools, among other topics.
Local news is also about the flavor of communities. It’s about interesting people in your town, whose actions make the community richer. It’s about fun events that add to the quality of life.
That’s what we do at Reminder Publishing and that’s what we are bringing to The Pennysaver and to the Westfield News.
This publication has had a long successful life as a “shopper,” the newspaper industry term for a weekly newspaper where the majority of content are ads with the editorial content being mostly press releases from local organizations and institutions.
Readers relied on The Pennysaver to see what was happening in area towns and to look at the values offered by local businesses.
In that sense, the Pennysaver is not changing. There will be the community events readers expect and local advertising.
There are changes, though, and let me go through them.
The Pennysaver is now a broadsheet rather than a tabloid newspaper.
You will still receive all of the shopping circulars that are expected. Readers used to get the Extra with all the inserts in a red bag and The Pennysaver in a blue bag. This is all combined, and now delivered in a yellow bag.
Look for that yellow bag in the future.
The circulation will be primarily home delivery to residences in Westfield and Southwick, with 6,000 copies mailed to the hill towns. There will be copies available at local pick-ups points as well.
The news content will be focused on Westfield, Southwick and the hill towns. You’ll see original reporting as well as all of those notices for which The Pennysaver was famous. The staff of the Westfield News is contributing stories as well as the rest of the staff of Reminder Publishing. We will also feature the work of a reporter who is dedicated just to this publication.
The idea is to create the kind of weekly that has been successful in East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, Chicopee, West Springfield and Agawam.
Advertisers appreciate the format as well, as it’s proven to be an effective way for them to share their messages.
The stories in this newspaper will not be repeated in the Westfield News. If you subscribe to that fine publication, you’ll find The Pennysaver is a perfect complement and vice versa. I hope you will add the Westfield News to your daily reading.
This is your newspaper, and as the managing editor for the company, I want to hear from you. If you like something that we do, let me know. If you don’t like something, let me know.
Do you have an idea for a story? Do you know someone who is doing something interesting or helpful or unusual? Have a letter to the editor? Drop me a line. Is your organization seeking publicity? Let me know that as well.
The best way to contact me and to send me your thoughts and suggestions is through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope your enjoy the new Pennysaver and I look forward to hearing from you.