Anyone who has been around a business for many years has experienced change.
Since I collected my first paycheck for work as a reporter in the 1980s, plenty has changed in the newspaper industry.
I've seen many moves designed to make the process of producing newspapers more efficient, and the product more appealing in meeting consumer needs.
I recall the day we paginated newspaper pages for the first time. In other words, we built pages on computers.
Then, the process seemed remarkable. Now it's routine.
Same with newspaper Internet sites. For an industry once limited to a print product, sharing news and advertising messages in cyberspace sounded overwhelming and far-fetched.
Yet today, consider The Telegram's website, GCTelegram.com, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each month.
And now, count The Telegram's transition to mail delivery of its print product as another significant change — one designed to address existing challenges and improve service to our subscribers and advertisers.
Starting Thursday, The Telegram will be delivered to subscribers via the United States Postal Service. We expect immediate improvement in more secure, consistent delivery of the newspaper.
Since announcing the plan, readers understandably have had questions, to include whether the move would delay their newspaper delivery a day or more.
It will not. The Telegram will be delivered the same day through a USPS program known as "exceptional dispatch."
In fact, many subscribers will have their paper earlier on weekdays (at least those who now receive their mail before the 5:30 p.m. newspaper delivery deadline). Saturday delivery will come later than our current 7 a.m. delivery deadline, but we believe the trade-off in more consistent delivery from the post office will make the change worthwhile.
Readers who buy The Telegram at newspaper racks and dealers will be able to purchase the paper much earlier, as they will be delivered soon after the paper goes to press at 1 a.m.
Our advertisers also should appreciate the change. When advertising messages are received earlier in the day, customers have more opportunity to immediately respond to sales and other offers.
To make the move to same-day mail possible, we are moving to night shifts in News and Production. The Telegram office will remain open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for Advertising and other customer needs.
As for other concerns, some readers were disappointed to hear carriers were losing an opportunity to make money delivering the paper.
While we have had many good, dedicated carriers over the years, it's become a struggle to maintain an adequate carrier force. Continual turnover of routes has created service problems for subscribers that should be remedied with mail delivery.
Plus, The Telegram only will be reducing, and not eliminating its carrier force. A number of current independent contractors have signed on to deliver papers to post offices, inside dealer locations, newspaper racks and other places not served by mail. The Telegram's shopper, Bargains Plus, will continue to be delivered by carriers.
We also plan to involve former youth carriers who are interested in door-to-door sales, which would give them an opportunity to make more money than they did delivering the paper.
Other questions have centered on the future of the USPS. Should post offices drop Saturday delivery or scale back service in other ways, our remaining carrier force could be called on to deliver The Telegram.
It's also worth noting that we're pleased to send new business to the USPS. No one should want any local or area post office to close, so every bit of new income on their end should be welcome.
Newspapers are like any business that must pursue change to be better positioned for the future. The conversion to same-day mail delivery will help us streamline our operation and improve service to our customers.
And it's more proof of how newspaper delivery methods continue to evolve. Whether arriving as a print product in mailboxes, or on computers, tablets or cell phones, The Telegram's ability to share timely, relevant and accurate local news and advertising content still should matter more than how it's delivered. We hope you agree.
Thanks, as always, for reading and supporting your community newspaper.
Email Editor-publisher Dena Sattler at email@example.com.