What about Bozeman?
It's an odd question for an editor in Billings to be asked about someone else's newspaper. After all, I keep plenty busy hearing about what people like — or in some cases — don't like about our website or print edition. That's not just something that happens at The Gazette — editors across America, regardless of where they live and how big their organization is, hear a lot about how they're doing. In fact, it may be the only job I know in which everyone else truly believes they could do a better, more thoughtful job.
And you know what? I love it.
So, it's a bit odd when folks ask: What about Bozeman?
They're not talking about the football team or that community's growth. Folks pose that question because of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's recent decision to drop a publication day, Monday.
The question about Bozeman isn't really about Bozeman, though. Instead, the readers fear we're contemplating the same move.
So let's clear that question up right away: We will publish every day. We have no plans to cut publication days.
Newspaper companies across America have experienced the same kind of radical change that so many businesses face. Much of this change is driven by not only a change in our economy, but in the very way people get information, both news and advertising. That is true for any media company, no matter the size or who owns it. Our evolution and transformation has been analogous to so many other companies and industries. The only difference is that our evolution is done on a very public stage with the backdrop of more than century's worth of editions for comparison.
In other words, we who cover the news — which is a daily chronicle of what is changing in our local world — are not immune to the winds of change.
One of the options some newspaper companies have contemplated is dropping publication days. Larger papers from Cleveland to Portland have made the transition. And, that's certainly one approach as readers' habits change.
But with all due respect to our neighbors in Bozeman, it's just not a solution we like. We believe that news and information is not an either-or proposition. We don't make a digital product at the expense of our print edition or vice versa. They both have an important role to play.
When I was a paper carrier for The Gazette more years ago than I care to admit, I understood there was a difference between the Sunday and Monday newspaper — one took me two hours to deliver; the other I could deliver from my bike in 35 minutes flat.
While I understand the Daily Chronicle's logic for dropping what is usually the smallest paper of the week, we believe the advertisers that appear in the Monday edition are there because our reach is still the most powerful in the market. And, news doesn't somehow lose its value or effectiveness just because it falls on a day that most people loathe. And most businesses are open on Monday, so the newspaper should be as well.
So, what about Bozeman?
Well, you'll have to ask Bozeman. As for Billings, we're happy to provide news, advertising and content every day, in print or online, without exception.