Change is hard.

In a perfect world, the News-Star staff would gladly begin printing a Monday edition to go back to seven editions per week. But the newspaper world in 2018 is far from perfect.

That is why, beginning August 11, we will no longer print a separate Saturday edition. The News-Star will still be printed on Tuesday through Friday as it always has. The two papers from the weekend will be combined into one better, larger product that will be delivered Saturday morning with all of the advertising inserts and coupons readers are accustomed to receiving on Sunday mornings now.

Our newsroom will still be working seven days a week and updating stories, photos and videos on our website. There will just be one fewer printed products during the week.

This was a difficult decision, but this solution is the best way for us to keep the News-Star strong for the next 100 years.

As our industry - like many others - moves into a more digital environment, our distribution model has followed it.

We have thousands of visitors to our website every day. So far in July, the number of digital readers and print subscribers are almost the same. We have averaged more than 5,500 daily readers online in July alone.

When I entered the newspaper business in 1993, I didn't even have an email address. The newspaper certainly didn't have a website. Now we have a vibrant website and more than 17,000 social media followers on multiple platforms. Our audience is bigger than ever before. It is just in more places.

This isn't the same industry I entered 25 years ago. We've grown and evolved. That growth has made us an even better information source.

Unfortunately, our country's leadership has thrown a real wrinkle in newsprint prices. When President Donald Trump levied new tariffs on Canadian newsprint, it caused price increases and product shortages across American manufacturers, as well.

Those elements all combined to drive up the price of newsprint more than 33 percent compared to last year. That means more than $3,000 a month for us.

I truly appreciate the Oklahoma Congressional delegation writing a letter to the administration trying to change their minds on tariffs, but the financial impact can't be downplayed.

We can't continue to see prices climb with no indication that any relief is in sight. Fiscal responsibility demands action, and the decision was made to preserve employees' jobs and pursue a new printing schedule and distribution style to make our printing schedule and digital products reflect our readership.

The past few years have been very successful for the News-Star and, if our government will avoid creating any more damaging business conditions, our future is bright.

Remember, every print subscriber has free access to any of our digital products as well. Some people only want to read the printed product and we will produce five great newspapers each week.

Some prefer the digital product and we will continue to keep our website interesting with continual updates and extra photos and videos that you can only see online.

We appreciate all of our readers in print, online and our social media followers. Thank you for your support. We will continue to be your information source for Shawnee and the surrounding area.

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