chicken clip

In August 2092, a Journal-Express reporter might turn the faded pages of a 75-year-old book and read about a local woman’s exploits in the state fair rubber chicken throwing contest. That story will stick out among the offerings from the Aug. 31, 2017, edition of this newspaper and likely find its way into the “Pages from the Past” feature.

Our great-great grandkids might smile at our simpler times. Will fake fowls still fly in the future at the state fair? Will there still even be a state fair or, for that matter, newspapers?

I hope so, but all that’s clear here and now are some changes at the Journal-Express.

I take newspapers seriously. More than ever, community newspapers are a sacred trust. They’re essential for keeping people informed. And, at the end of the day, they are a business.

The Journal-Express, like most newspapers, is adapting to changing times. Many people like to read ink-on-paper publications. Others prefer to click their way through the news on their computer or smartphone.

For years, we’ve shared a lot of our content for free on our website — www.journalexpress.net — and through social media. That’s whetted many appetites for the good stuff that can be purchased in print, either with a subscription or by picking up a paper at the store. The website also gives us the flexibility to report news as it happens, balancing the permanence of our weekly paper with the pertinence of immediate coverage.

Today brings more progress in our growth as a digital news source. We launch an updated website and e-edition that share the best of both worlds — breaking news along with all the content you’ll find in the weekly edition.

Regular subscribers can access everything on the website as part of their subscription. People who don’t want the paper version can pay a lesser price to read our content on their screens. And if a social media link to an article catches your eye, you can buy one-day or one-article access on the website.

We’ll continue to alert folks to our content through Facebook and Twitter. But non-subscribers will be limited to a few free views of our stories every month.

Every news source has a business model, and these are tweaked from time to time. Today’s change is a shift toward the way that many newspapers function.

Information, we believe, ranks right up there with food, shelter and clothing among things that are essential to getting through our days. We hope you agree. We value your support and will do our best to bring you the news you need, in print and online.

The guy that wrote that chicken-chucking article and so many “Pages from the Past” features over the past two years, is moving on.

Ethan Goetz was holding down the fort here when I joined the paper last August. While 2017 brought him and our staff more than it bargained for, Ethan’s persistence and his quirky humor blessed us and our readers. He dealt with the diverse demands of a reporter called to cover everything from county government to the mental health crisis.

But I’ll remember him best for offbeat assignments like the chicken story, which we worked on in my first week here. A former supervising editor cut my favorite phrase from that piece, so I’ll salvage it here as we send Ethan off.

I hope his future, like those bogus birds, is poultry in motion.

This column appeared in the July 12 edition of the Journal-Express.

Pat Finan is the managing editor of the Journal-Express. He can be reached in the newsroom at 641-842-2155 or via email at pfinan@journalexpress.net.

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