Learning a lesson

It is safe to say we learned a valuable lesson last week when we reversed the decision to change delivery methods of our newspaper from independent carriers to postal delivery.

Our readers let us know they wanted their papers early in the morning — not whatever time their mail was delivered. Some people were angry, some people were sad, most people simply wanted to express that they thought it was a lousy idea that would interrupt the way they like to start their day.

In fact, though, what all elements were saying is that our morning newspaper is very important in their lives. And that was very flattering and gratifying.

Enough so that we canceled the switch before it was even implemented.

Newspapers everywhere are facing daunting times. Costs keep increasing while revenues decline. And, it is not competition from digital news outlets that is the problem. In fact, the biggest problem is that so many folks have changed their buying habits — it is easier to click on a computer button than walk into a store.

That hurts our advertisers. It hurts their employees. It hurts the community. And, in the end, it hurts the newspaper and its employees. As retailers’ revenues shrink, so do their advertising budgets. In some cases — Kmart and Sports Authority come immediately to mind — they close their doors completely. Employees lose their jobs and the advertising budget disappears.

So, we are going to have to be more creative in cutting costs — and, hopefully, increasing revenues. Our existing morning news product is very valuable to our readers — you let us know that in no uncertain terms in the last couple of weeks.

Now, we have to transmit that enthusiasm for The Maui News from our readers into solid results for our advertisers. Let them know you see and react to their ads in this newspaper.

And, darn it, don’t become a digital shopper. Shopping is fun — you’ll interact with friends and neighbors, not a robot in a server room in Asia.

Your local stores need you. Their employees need you. And this newspaper needs you.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.