Better deal than a cup of coffee

CHARLES TOWN – Since coming on board at the Spirit 20 months ago, I’ve heard lots of feedback from faithful readers as well as those new to the paper, nearly all of them telling me how much they look forward to reading what we put together each week – and that they appreciate how much longer it takes now to read through the Spirit.

We’ve made our front page an interesting showpiece of news and features and also added more photos, a state news roundup, a crime log and business news. We’ve greatly expanded our Life section, our editorial pages, our farm coverage and retooled our sports section to make it livelier.

Beyond positive reviews from readers, increased newsstand sales and more subscription orders, the paper’s number of awards in the 2012 West Virginia Press Association competition was by far the highest ever for the Spirit – all across the state, only one other paper in our size category took home more honors for editorial work.

It’s our belief that our readers recognize what a quality product they’re getting in the Spirit, and that they understand that to create such a newspaper week in and week out takes resources.

At the same time that we’ve made the paper better – budgeting more into creating content – we’ve also been hit by higher costs to do business. One of our biggest increases: higher gas prices have driven up what we spend to distribute our paper each week.

Starting next week, we’re offsetting these rising costs by introducing a small price increase. Our motivation isn’t to gouge our readers’ pocketbooks or to create fatter profit margins, but because we want the Spirit – a part of our community since 1844 – to not just limp along but to have a healthy bottom line that allows us to continue to produce the quality newspaper that our readers have come to expect.

The new newsstand price of 90 cents will take effect with the paper that comes out on June 5. We will offer readers the chance to lock in today’s lower price: Call our office manager Cara Young at 304-725-2046, ext. 21, before Tuesday and pay for a year’s subscription at the current rate. Another bargain option is our e-edition, which costs just $19 a year.

Starting June 5, our year subscription rate will rise to $33 for West Virginia households and $35 for those living out-of-state.

A rule of thumb I’ve always heard is that a good newspaper ought to cost about the same as a good cup of coffee – a pair of everyday “luxury” items that make life a lot richer. With the average cup of coffee these days priced at $1.38, paying 90 cents once a week for the Spirit is a great bargain. Know that for that fair price, we will continue to work our hardest every day to bring you the best possible product week in and week out.

– Robert Snyder


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