Wednesday, Dec 18 2013 06:00 AM

Now & Then: Merry Christmas

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One of the issues we always face in the weekly newspaper business is what I call the "gap."

A daily newspaper typically publishes and distributes on the same day. But weeklies generally have to work around the press schedule of dailies or other publications produced by the printer and in rural areas like ours also have to allow time for the newspaper to be delivered.

This means, for instance, that when we go to press at about noon on Monday we may know that there will be a city council meeting that night, but we don't know what action will be taken.

So we report that the meeting was "after the deadline for this week's edition" and catch up the following week (or online).

We strive to narrow the gap between our press deadline and the time that most readers will receive the paper, but there is no way that we can eliminate it completely.

Which is why I'm telling you "Merry Christmas" in our edition of Dec. 18, when we will also publish on Dec. 25.

The Dec. 25 edition will reach some readers the day before Christmas, probably no one on Christmas Day (unless you buy it in a store or rack) and other readers after Christmas.

Readers have been frustrated by not receiving the newspaper sooner, in part because they want to get the grocery store sale ads sooner.

When I returned to Tehachapi three years ago in August, we distributed the newspaper on Monday morning, even though it was dated Wednesday.

Readers received the grocery store ads earlier, but the news was more than a week old because our press schedule did not allow us to cover weekend events.

There is no perfect day that we can publish and avoid the effects of the gap. We've picked the day that we believe we can best serve most people, most of the time. We're still working through delivery issues in some areas, and fine-tuning our distribution plan as we go. For instance, last week I said that your newspaper will not be delivered with The Bakersfield Californian, but in some areas this week we have returned to using the same carriers, so you may.

The Wednesday holidays the next two weeks will likely create an additional delay in mailed copies. This cannot be helped.

For those who will continue to receive their paper in the mail and would like to see the grocery ads sooner, we offer the following suggestions:

* Most stores and racks will have the new paper on Tuesdays.

* Many stores have copies of their ads in the stores.

* Many stores offer a digital replica of their ads online; some even allow you to sign up for email updates and have special coupons for website visitors.

The good news is that we had far fewer distribution issues last week than the week before; but that isn't good enough for you if you didn't receive your newspaper. If that is the case, please let me know. We're working to see what we can do to improve the situation in a few problem areas. I am sorry for the inconvenience to some of our readers and we'll keep working to solve those problems.


CLAUDIA ELLIOTT is editor of the Tehachapi News. Send email to: celliott@tehachapinews.com or call 823-6360.

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