The GS Sun Goes Digital

by BR Fite

GRAND SALINE--For those that have not heard, the Grand Saline Sun will no longer be a print a weekly newspaper. As I wrote over in an editorial in October of 2015, Michelle and I bought the paper to keep it going, but that it was going to be an uphill battle in the era of digital media, and we have worked tirelessly as many of you can attest to keep the lights on and a paper in the racks.
As modern innovations dictates necessity, technology has had its effect on just about every aspect of our lives. A recent survey suggested that more and more people are turning to social media and the internet to get their news, and that leaves papers like the Grand Saline Sun with few options if they wish to continue to serve their communities with trustworthy and current news.
The good news is, we are still going to publish our online edition! Many small town papers are not surviving as many of you know. Most are aware that the Van paper closed, and several across the state and country have been forced to make the hard decision to close their doors recently.
As advertisers move from print to an online preference, the lifeblood of the small town paper has dwindled. In our case, there were several weeks that we had to come out of pocket with print costs. When you are speaking of $1200 to $1500 a month to keep a newspaper on newsstands, and businesses opting for other avenues to advertise, something has to give. The analogy I have been giving to people is that it is like digging a deep hole with a short shovel—it just does not work.
This is a move that we struggled to make, and it was one that did not come about lightly, but after much prayer and consulting with those close to us, we have made the decision to end the print side of the Grand Saline Sun. We did not want to get rid of our small town paper altogether, and we are fortunate in one aspect—we had an online availability that not all small community publications had to offer. Many publications just close up shop, and as the old saying goes, “Turn out the lights, the party is over.” We did not want that to be the fate of the Grand Saline Sun, and we will do our best to keep our hometown newspaper alive in a digital format.
We do not want to approach this as misfortune, rather we are looking at it as an opportunity. Many times it is how you approach change that makes it a negative or positive move. We choose to look at this as a move forward. When life gives you lemons, right? Although we were disappointed that we could not keep the print service going, we are excited about the possibilities of going online only. We have spoken to the advertisers that have been with us throughout the years and the reaction and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and even optimistic. This will mean great discounts on ads as well as a broader reach since the internet is infinite.
For the readers, we will no longer be limited to how many pages we can publish. Before we were limited how many pages that we could afford to print, without that limitation the options are endless. If we have a lot of news, we can put in as much as we want, and nothing has to hit the cutting room floor. That means more local content, more recognition of local accomplishments, more student successes, and more pictures—and everything is in color, not just the front and back pages, and no bad print jobs!
We realize some people will not want to go online or do not have access online, and that is unfortunately out of our control and for that we apologize. But, for those who currently subscribe to the print version of the paper, you will get an added year to your subscription from your renewal date complimentary as a special thank you for your loyalty in the past and your patience as we undergo this transition; meaning all who are used to getting the paper weekly in the mail will not have to worry about renewal until 2021. Many out of town and out of state subscribers will n longer have to wait weeks to get their paper, now everything will be immediate access, and we will reach more people with distance not being a problem with accessing our paper. Miss a paper? We have archives on our website that go back to 2015. So finding last week’s paper will not be a problem. Also in the works, we will eventually be adding an option to pay for one paper edition instead of having to subscribe to a whole year if you were only interested in the one issue.
As I wrap up, I would like to take the time to thank those advertisers who have been with us throughout the years, and who have made it possible for us to keep the Grand Saline Sun on racks as long as it has been. A big shout out to Lowe’s Insurance, Austin Bank, Grand Saline ISD, Country Trails Wellness and Rehabilitation, Azeala Trails Nursing and Rehabilitation, Anderson Nursing Center, Tommy Monk For Van Zandt County Sheriff, Hughes Appliance and Air Conditioning, Economy Drug, Shalom Retreat Center, Eubank Funeral Home, Texas Quality Furnature, Doc Monty Chiropractor, Robin Holden Landscaping, Paul Stevens Lawn Services, Grand Saline Main Street, First United Methodist Church, Riverside Mission Church, Uncle Bubba’s Grill House—thank you for your loyalty in the past, and for sticking with us as we move forward. Go shop these businesses and let them know you appreciate them for years of local hometown news—and many more to come!