Flipping through past issues of The Spotlight, it’s easy to see the evolution of the newspaper from its upstart beginnings as a six-page community newspaper when it started March 23, 1961 — a Thursday — to its respected position today in the world of Oregon print journalism and advertising.

And The Spotlight is continuing to evolve within the increasingly crowded, complicated and expanding media landscape of today. This announcement marks another step forward in this evolution.

Starting March 22 — just a day shy of our 52nd year in business in South Columbia County — The Spotlight newspaper will publish on Fridays.

There are several reasons — all positive — for this change.

First and foremost, we are very pleased to announce the inclusion of Fred Meyer grocery inserts in The Spotlight starting with the Friday, March 29 issue. For the numerous readers over the years who have encouraged us to pursue inclusion of the Fred Meyer grocery inserts in The Spotlight, we want to thank you for your words of support. We also implore you to take advantage of the Fred Meyer offers presented in The Spotlight so that we can continue to build momentum and carry this exciting service far into the future.

With a Friday publication, Fred Meyer has the capability of reaching out to our readership with grocery and retail sales and promotions that launch on Sundays. The Spotlight’s readers will get a first look at Fred Meyer sales and promotions before they kick off and will be well positioned to take advantage of the great offers from Columbia County’s most popular grocer and retailer.

No other news publication in Columbia County offers this level of service.

A second but equally valid reason for the switch away from a Wednesday publication is that our reading and consumption habits have changed as a result of the Internet. The commonly held philosophy of newspapers targeting mid-week publication days as the ideal for serving its readers and advertising clients doesn’t hold up in the crowded, fragmented media world of today.

If your household is anything like mine, there is not a lot free time during the workweek to shop. In fact, nearly all of my household shopping and recreational pursuits occur between the period spanning Friday and Sunday evening.

As a Wednesday publication, there were simply too many chances for important messages from local retailers and event organizers to become lost in the massive volume of messages that bombards nearly everybody — every day — via emerging online platforms, such as Facebook, and other news outlets. By moving to Fridays, The Spotlight’s readers are best positioned to react to events and other opportunities that occur Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays, when we are all more likely to participate.

The message from our advertising and community partners will be fresh, and it will be delivered to a readership best positioned to receive it.

Thirdly, the move to Fridays is a great opportunity for The Spotlight to even further distinguish itself in the South Columbia County market it serves.

As publisher, I have greatly enjoyed helping The Spotlight achieve increased levels of success, which would not be possible without the support of our readers. Year after year, our news and sports reporting ranks among the top tier of peer-reviewed news publications as determined by esteemed journalism agencies, such as the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. The switch to Fridays is yet another investment opportunity for us to improve The Spotlight and make it a more attractive news and advertising publication.

I fully anticipate our continued delivery of the enterprising reporting that informs and educates our readers about the often-overlooked aspects of our community. Equally, however, we are making a commitment to ensure coverage of the positive events — social and school, charitable, fundraising, etc. — and remarkable people who make South Columbia County a great place to live and work.

Thank you for reading The Spotlight.

Contract Publishing

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