By: M.L. Stein
As dailies continue to switch from afternoon to morning delivery, Rufus Woods, editor and publisher of the Wenatchee (Wash.) World, chooses to stick with the afternoon.
He decided to buck the decades-long trend after polling subscribers and carefully weighing the benefits and drawbacks of the morning cycle.
Early risers wanted the paper on their doorstep at 5:30 a.m., since many start work early in the region’s orchards. The poll, surprisingly, shows a hefty majority of the 500 respondents prefer afternoon delivery. The six-day World, daily circulation 27,000, publishes three editions for distribution over 11,000 square miles.
Some readers threatened to be nonreaders of a morning World, Woods recalled in an interview, adding that 5:30 a.m. “is too early for us to package the paper for delivery.”
Still, he gave the switch a lot of thought, on the grounds that a lot of papers made the move and gained significant circulation. “And morning would give us more time to put the paper together, which generally means a higher quality newspaper for readers and advertisers,” he said.
But the shift would mean night work for employees, difficulty for their families and an adverse impact on nearly 400 youth and adult carriers.
“But the fundamental reason for staying as we are was that we are not as strong as we need to be,” Woods said. “To be competitive in the marketplace, you have to have a strong product, whatever your delivery time. We believe we have a good product to build on and there will be changes taking place. We’re considering a raft of them to shore up our weaknesses.”
Refusing to rule out a cycle change in the future, Woods said, “But right now, I don’t believe we’ll be giving up a lot of growth by staying as we are.”
?(Rufus Woods) [Photo]
?(E&P Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher May 9, 1998) [Caption]