Dear Readers for Dec. 11, 2008

We’ve been talking and listening a lot this week to what people in Blount County are saying about Blount Today.

Wow. Thanks! Good news is always great to hear, and your response to our planned increase in the number of outlets where you will be able to find Blount Today has been very positive. We’re excited about that, too, as we work very hard to produce a great community newspaper each week, and we want you to have it in your hands.

The response to no more driveway delivery has been mixed, as I expected. No one is really bemoaning not having it dropped in the driveway -- especially on rainy days. But some of you have written and called to say that you don’t like having to go out and find a rack to pick up your newspaper. You want it at home.

I like convenience, too, which is what led us to take the step and offer our a subscription to Blount Today. It’s an unusual thing to do, as the paper will still be free in the racks, but we have high hopes that you will like it and take advantage of the convenience.

Even if we sell several thousand subscriptions, which is my goal, Blount Today will still be a paper that pays the bills through advertising revenue. Everything we do at Blount Today is governed by how successful we are in selling ads. You will notice that your Blount Today this week has some pictures and stories of events that happened in September and October, as well as more current events. That’s because editor Lance Coleman and I are playing Catch Up this week. We know you want to see coverage of your event in the paper, even a month later, so every now and then, we have to catch up. I can only plan the number of pages that the advertising revenue will support -- no matter how many wonderful things we cover the week before!

So, as we celebrate the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, help us out at Blount Today in two ways. First, tell our advertisers that you saw their ad in Blount Today. It makes a difference to them, and therefore to us.

Second, subscribe to Blount Today for 2009 and have it mailed to your house every week. The annual rate is $31.20. You will get it in the mail on Thursdays -- Fridays if I miss my deadline.

Next week we will have subscription forms in our office that you can fill out and either attach a check or give a credit card number for your subscription. You can also buy subscriptions for your friends, parents, children -- anyone you think would enjoy the paper. In the next few weeks, you will also receive a card inside your Blount Today that you can fill out and mail back to us to subscribe.

And, the easiest way of all, you will be able to go on our website and link to a secure subscription site and sign up online. Kick-off date for that is planned for Dec. 18.

Blount Today is also offering non-profits, churches and school groups a chance to sell subscriptions to Blount Today and make some money for their organizations. If you sign up to sell subscriptions during January, your organization will make $5 for every subscription you sell. If you are interested in doing that, you need to call or email me, and I can give you the specifics.

For someone who doesn’t like change -- especially when things are going well -- this has been a difficult and stressful two months. But the good news is that I truly believe we have made all the right choices at Blount Today. We have kept our goal of providing our readers with the best community newspaper possible firmly in mind and kept our motto -- Committed to Community -- at the forefront of everything we have done.

We are excited about the changes. We think they are good ones. I hope you do, too.

Email me or respond in a comment form on the website if you have ideas or suggestions, or if you would like to help us sell subscriptions to our newspaper.

And DON’T miss next week’s paper. This week was catch-up, so that was fun. Next week, we will be so full of holiday spirit that your eyes will be seeing red and green for a week!

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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